Leaping Bunny Program in the US Responds to EU Animal Testing Report

UPDATED 9/8/21, for citizens of the European Union only: We’re urging EU citizens to sign the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) and tell the European Commission that they won’t accept the broken promise of a Europe where animals no longer suffer and die for cosmetics. An ECI needs over one million valid signatures to succeed. It shows the European Commission that citizens care and want change – it is a mechanism for people to demand new legislation. Thank you for making your voices – and the voices of animals in laboratories – heard. Sign here if you are an EU citizen.

A new scientific report details the impact of chemical safety legislation in the EU on animal testing for cosmetic ingredients

A report titled “Continuing animal tests on cosmetic ingredients for REACH in the EU” by Knight, et al. was released on the ALTEX website.1 It details the price being paid in animal lives as a consequence of the conflicting objectives of two European Union laws, the Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals). The findings show a concerning trend: ingredients used only in cosmetics are being tested on animals under REACH, despite the prohibition on animal testing in the Cosmetics Regulation. Bunny

This report is powerful evidence of a betrayal of consumers, who believed that animal-tested ingredients for cosmetics purposes have been banned in the EU since 2013. Until now, no entity has made public the correlation between animal testing on cosmetics-only ingredients and REACH requirements. 

Although REACH legislation only affects suppliers in the EU, supply chains are continuing to become more globalized. Currently, the U.S. and Canada allow cosmetic companies to prove safety of ingredients by utilizing alternatives to animal testing, known as in vitro testing, and there is no law equivalent to REACH in the U.S. or Canada. However, there is still reason for concern about this news, due to the international nature of the cosmetics business. EU testing requirements could impact U.S. and Canadian companies utilizing European suppliers. 

The Leaping Bunny Program, operated by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics in the U.S., is committed to only certifying companies that meet our stringent criteria. Our certified companies have made the commitment to create products free of animal testing at all stages of product development, and many have done so for years. The foundation of the Leaping Bunny Program is documentation, and we continue to remain confident that our Supplier Monitoring System provides the best assurance to consumers that companies are free of animal testing. If a Leaping Bunny company’s ingredient supplier has been a party to animal testing anywhere in the world, our program is designed to determine that in the initial application and annual recommitment process. 

We understand that there may be instances in which certified companies have unknowingly obtained ingredients that are not in compliance with our Standard. In these instances, we will review each situation on a case-by-case basis and determine whether the certified company can remediate the situation and remain certified. We are absolutely convinced that, in spite of potential lapses, our list of certified companies is the most trustworthy list available of brands that do not test on animals.

The Leaping Bunny Program is committed to ensuring that all of our certified companies are informed of this potential lapse, and we are actively working with partners around the world to have the most up-to-date, accurate information possible on this issue. 

We support the efforts of companies and animal protection organizations in Europe that are defending the intent of the EU’s Cosmetics Regulation: to end animal testing on cosmetics, period.  

We commend the authors of the report for this thorough evaluation and are grateful for their diligence sorting out this complicated situation.
 
About Leaping Bunny:
The Leaping Bunny Program, operated by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, is the gold standard for certification of companies to be free of new animal testing at all stages of product development. Certification includes collecting documentation from all suppliers and/or manufacturers to confirm that all ingredients, formulations, and finished products have not been tested on animals. Additionally, all companies must recommit on an annual basis, and be open to independent audits, in order to affirm that they are still in compliance with our Standard. 

 

1 Knight, J., Rovida, C., Kreiling, R., Zhu, C., Knudsen, M., & Hartung, T. (2021). Continuing animal tests on cosmetic ingredients for REACH in the EU. ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation. https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.2104221