Plans for a landmark ban on the sale of cosmetic products tested on animals throughout Europe’s Single Market are set to be endorsed by MEPs today.
But the move has raised fears about the impact of a hard Brexit on animal welfare standards in Britain, as the Tories want to negotiate separate trade deals with third countries which allow testing on animals – such as the USA.
In Brussels today, the European Parliament will hear that 80 per cent of countries around the world still allow testing on animals in the production of cosmetic products.
In the EU, a testing ban in place since 2013 applies to every member state while countries such as Norway and Iceland which are in the Single Market have also introduced a ban.
However, a loophole means some cosmetics are tested on animals outside the EU before being re-tested in the EU using alternative methods and placed on the European market – a situation which MEPs now want to outlaw.
A motion set to be endorsed in the European Parliament today has widespread cross-party support, including from Labour MEPs, and calls for ‘the EU institutions to guarantee a level playing field for all the products placed on the EU market and to make sure that none of them have been tested on animals in a third country’.
It also outlines plans to liaise with the United Nations for a global ban on testing on animals by 2023.
Labour MEP for Scotland, Catherine Stihler, said:
“This is a landmark moment in the fight for animal welfare, with MEPs from across Europe coming together to agree to tighten the ban on cosmetic products tested on animals.
“The European Union has led the world on this issue, setting a clear example that animal testing is a barbaric practice that is completely unjustified in the 21st century.
“Preventing the sale of products tested on animals in third countries is a vital next step for Europe, and I also support the drive for a global ban.
“But there are growing concerns about the impact of Brexit on animal welfare. If the Tories force us out of the Single Market, Britain will have to strike trade deals with countries which don’t have testing bans in place, and that could allow such products to enter the UK market.
“This is just yet another example why leaving the EU is such a misguided move. If we are to leave, then the least-worst option for the UK is membership of the Single Market.”