STAND UP FOR CRUELTY FREE COSMETICS
The Leaping Bunny is the globally recognised gold standard for Cruelty Free cosmetics, personal care products/household products and cleaning products. It is the only cruelty free licence that requires a supplier monitoring system to be implemented by the brand, supply chain checking for animal testing right down to ingredient manufacture level, adherence to a fixed cut-off date policy and acceptance of ongoing independent audits to ensure compliance.
What’s happening? As many of you may already have heard, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is stepping up aggressive implementation of European chemicals laws, requiring the REINTRODUCTION of animal tests on substances used solely or mainly in cosmetics. Hundreds of thousands of animals are ONCE AGAIN AT RISK of suffering for cosmetics in Europe. WE’RE ANGRY AND WE’RE DISAPPOINTED, and we are going to do everything we can to stop this. We know that you will be feeling the same, and we will be asking all our Leaping Bunny brands and your customers to join us to fight this renewed animal testing, safeguard the animal testing bans in the European Union Cosmetics Regulations and maintain the cruelty free certification that your company The Victorian Garden work so hard for and that your customers want.
Why now? In 2013, the European Commission assured citizens that animal testing of cosmetics products and ingredients in the European Union, and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals elsewhere, was a thing of the past. Without exception, the collective decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers to phase in the bans was complete. Europe was taking a moral stance, reflecting the overwhelming concerns of people across the continent. Over time, it has become increasingly clear that the Commission and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) – an agency overseeing implementation of chemical safety laws – are ignoring the decisions made by elected politicians and the people they represent, not only interpreting the testing bans as applicable just to ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics but also going as far as to require renewed animal tests for cosmetic ingredients based, they claim, on “consumer safety concerns”. This is clearly ‘over REACHing’ their responsibility - the latter scenario lies clearly under the Cosmetics Regulation. Information uncovered by the Cruelty Free International science team and reports from our Leaping Bunny companies highlight how serious this situation has now become. This is not something we could have predicted as we have always been led to led to believe the cosmetics testing bans would take precedence over REACH.
WE KNOW THAT THESE ARE CHANGES THAT OUR SUPPORTERS AND CRUELTY FREE CONSUMERS WILL NOT LIKE EITHER. Most of all, we know that they will be angry about the actions of ECHA and the European Commission. In the interests of transparency, we believe that it’s better to make you aware of exactly what’s going on so that you have all the information to hand and so that we can all join together in fighting against animal testing and FIGHT for our “Leaping bunny’ symbol!
We currently don’t have any REACH testing – why are we being implicated in this change? Can we have a different logo or something to differentiate us from the certified brands that now have REACH testing in their products? Obviously, some brands are affected more than others by REACH testing. It very much depends on the number and type of products a company offers, and the ingredients these products contain. Brands with, for example, sun care ranges will be extensively affected. However, the direction of travel of ECHA suggests that even those brands that currently may not be affected by regulatory chemicals testing could well be affected in the near future. We feel we are stronger together as Cruelty Free International and Leaping Bunny brands and that united, we stand more chance of ending this testing. Up to now, Leaping Bunny has not allowed any new regulatory animal testing of the ingredients or raw materials used predominantly in cosmetics or household products. We’re not about to open the floodgates to this type of testing either. However, because of encroachment by regulatory authorities such as the European Chemicals Agency, we will now very reluctantly maintain Leaping Bunny status for brands in cases where an ingredient or raw material, already established in the market in which it is currently used, is subject to enforced regulatory testing for non-cosmetics or non-household products purposes. This would also apply in other jurisdictions where enforced regulatory testing impacts on ingredients that are already established and used. In these cases, our Leaping Bunny team will be screening every incidence of any animal testing and working with brands to explore all options for replacing the ingredients concerned. Where this is not possible, we will ensure that only those ingredients that meet specific post-market, forced testing requirements remain in formulations. Alongside this, our science and public affairs teams will be focused on making sure that everything is done to stop this testing from happening and to making sure that the cosmetics testing bans are properly implemented.
Why do the European Commission and ECHA think they are justified in requesting these animal tests? According to their joint 2014 statement, the European Commission and ECHA consider that the Cosmetic Regulation testing bans only apply to human health relevant animal tests that are done for the purpose of ensuring safety for use in a cosmetic product. They consider that if new testing is needed to assess the safety for those workers making the cosmetic, or where the substance has other non-cosmetic uses, for professionals or other workers making and using the substance, then this would be permitted (indeed required) under REACH. We disagree with this analysis because the animal tests ARE THE SAME, regardless of whether the justification is worker or consumer safety - we are all humans! In that way they are undermining the Cosmetic Regulation testing bans which even REACH itself says must take precedence. If these substances are considered safe to use (often in high quantities and repeatedly) by consumers for cosmetic purposes, then we are not persuaded that there is any additional risk to workers. If there are genuine safety concerns to workers then the appropriate step, in our view, would be to restrict the use of the substance rather than ask for new animal tests.
However, worryingly - and wrongly we feel - ECHA, supported by many EU member states which are evaluating REACH chemicals, are selecting substances for substance evaluation review that are used exclusively or predominantly in cosmetics. In these instances, they often say they are concerned about safety to consumers, however, as this is the remit of the Cosmetics Regulation our view is that this approach is simply ‘mission creep’ by ECHA. What can we continue to say about our Leaping Bunny certification? Why should we continue to be a proud Leaping Bunny brand? Leaping Bunny has never permitted final product testing whether that takes place before or after a product is placed on the market, and it still won’t. Leaping Bunny does not allow any new animal testing of new raw materials or ingredients to be used in cosmetic or household products, whether this is testing required by a regulator or exploratory testing by a company. It still won’t. Leaping Bunny does not allow animal testing for cosmetics purposes (defined by the EU Cosmetics Regulation), whether this is for new or existing cosmetic ingredients and raw materials. For example, testing for cosmetic purposes required by regions such as the USA or China would not be permitted regardless of whether the ingredient or raw material is new to the market there or not. It still won’t. The Leaping Bunny certification is still the best globally-recognised cruelty free assurance. The certification remains stronger than any testing bans anywhere in the world and acts as a beacon for markets where there are no bans yet in place. As you are well aware, many companies have very long supply chains. Leaping Bunny is the only certification that checks every step of the chain for animal testing. As a certified brand, you know how thorough that process is. You know that Leaping Bunny certification is – and will continue to be – the most rigorous, global, cruelty free accreditation. Unlike some cruelty free accreditations, we take nothing on trust. Whereas others may accept a one-off declaration from the product manufacturer or raw material distributor, we insist on declarations from every level of the supply chain where animal testing can occur, and we continue to spot check the declarations regularly after a brand has certified, using independent audits. You can imagine therefore how hard the enforced regulatory testing changes are for us and we know how hard they will be for you, our Leaping Bunny brands. We are convinced that the Leaping Bunny continues to demonstrate which brands are truly committed to ending animal testing and are willing to go the extra mile. It remains the best assurance that a company is doing all it can to ensure its products, raw materials and ingredients meet the highest global, cruelty free standard. In addition, unlike other certifications, we combine all of the rigour of the certification with impactful campaigning to end animal testing everywhere and forever and our experts continue to challenge and fight every ECHA request for an animal test
Continue to STOP ECHA OVERREACH
STAND UP FOR CRUELTY FREE COSMETICS
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is aggressively stepping up the way it implements European chemicals laws, meaning that more animal tests will be conducted for some substances contained solely or mainly in cosmetics. Thousands of animals are once again at risk of suffering for cosmetics in Europe.
Cruelty Free International has consistently – and successfully – helped companies challenge animal tests required by ECHA and led the way in controlling the number of tests performed.
We are angry and disappointed with the actions of ECHA and the European Commission and are going to do everything we can to stop them. We know that you will be feeling the same, and we’re asking all our supporters, as well as Leaping Bunny brands and their customers, to join us to fight this testing and safeguard the animal testing bans in the European Union Cosmetics Regulations.
What can you do?
- First, sign our petition at www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/stop-overreach
- Share the petition with your friends and family across Europe and urge them all to sign and share too
- support our Leaping Bunny brands – Leaping Bunny remains the best assurance of a brand’s commitment to ending animal testing
- Look out for all our upcoming campaign activities
So Cruelty Free International is campaigning to stop European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) testing cosmetics on animals. I thought cosmetic animal testing was already banned in Europe?
Why is this campaign happening now?
In 2013, the European Union banned animal testing of cosmetics products and ingredients in the EU, and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals elsewhere. Without exception, the collective decision of MEPs and Ministers was very clear that animal testing of cosmetics was not to take place. Europe was taking a moral stance, reflecting the concerns of its citizens.
Over time, it has become increasingly apparent that the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency are ignoring this decision, now going as far as to require animal tests for ingredients only used in cosmetics.
Information uncovered by Cruelty Free International and reports from Leaping Bunny companies highlight how serious the situation has now become.
Up to this point, together with our Leaping Bunny brands and all of you, we have managed to fight off the effects of this testing. The actions of ECHA now make this very difficult.
What are European chemicals laws?
What is ECHA?
Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union law dealing with the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on human health and the environment. The law led to the setting up of ECHA (European Chemicals Agency), which now manages the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of REACH.
REACH can require animal tests on mammals, fish and occasionally birds. Thanks to the work of Cruelty Free International and our European partners, if a new test is required it must only be conducted once per substance and only if suitable alternatives cannot be used. However, this still means animal suffering.
What does REACH have to do with cosmetics?
Isn’t this just about making sure cosmetics are safe?
I thought animal testing on cosmetics was banned in Europe, are you saying that it is legal because of chemical laws?
REACH specifically says that its testing requirements are overruled by the cosmetics animal testing bans. In a case brought by the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients in 2016, in which Cruelty Free International intervened, the European Court of Justice ruled that companies cannot rely on animal test data to establish the safety of cosmetics products for the EU market, even if the tests are done outside the EU.
So ECHA’s recent demands for animal tests for substances used only in cosmetics should not be happening in our view. The safety of these substances is governed by cosmetics laws, not REACH. They have already been shown to be safe for use in cosmetics. If there are any questions about their safety, non-animal testing methods should be used where possible – where this is not possible, the ingredients should not be used. In some of the recent cases, chemicals companies have proposed using non-animal tests and have appealed against ECHA’s animal testing requirements, but these. appeals have not always been successful.
The EU adopted a policy that the suffering of animals is not justified for cosmetics – this should be upheld. Of course cosmetics must be safe for people to use and for the environment, but this does not mean that animals have to suffer in tests.
What does this mean for cruelty free cosmetics?
What brands are involved?
Leaping Bunny has not allowed brands to include cosmetic ingredients that have been tested on animals anywhere in the world in their products beyond their fixed cut-off date.
With our Leaping Bunny brands, we have so far been able to find alternative ingredients, working to reformulate products so that they remain free from regulatory testing. However, because of the scale of this testing now, Leaping Bunny brands are faced with having to withdraw whole ranges of products.
Unless ECHA and the European Commission change their stance, it will be hard for any cosmetics brands to remain unaffected by this forced regulatory chemicals testing.
Does this just affect makeup and colour cosmetics?
No, the definition of cosmetics also includes things like hair care, skincare, bath products and more.
What ingredients or raw materials are being used that are now being tested on animals by ECHA?
Some ingredients concerned include those used as UV protection in sun care, skincare, and make-up. Some preservatives are also being tested on animals. These are used in any type of cosmetic product that requires preserving. Each test, depending on its purpose, can use hundreds of animals. The substances are given to some of the animals at doses that will almost inevitably cause toxic effects, with all the suffering that this entails.
What does this mean for the Leaping Bunny?
Because of this, we feel that we have no choice but to make some changes to Leaping Bunny.
These are not changes we want to make. We have looked very carefully at all the alternatives, and we will continue to work with brands to find other ways to tackle the problem, but we believe that it would not be right to penalise brands for something that is completely beyond their control when they have gone the extra mile to tackle animal testing by achieving Leaping Bunny certification.
We know that these are changes that you will not like either. Most of all, we know that you will be angry about the actions of ECHA and the European Commission. But in the interests of transparency, we believe it’s better to make you aware of exactly what’s going on so that you have all the information to hand and so that we can all join together to fight against this testing and for our Bunny.
How can I tell if a product that carries the Leaping Bunny logo has ingredients that have been tested on animals?
Can you guarantee that if I buy a product with the Leaping Bunny logo on that it or its ingredients will not have been tested on animals?
Does this mean you are now allowing products to carry the Leaping Bunny logo that have either been tested on animals or contain ingredients that have been tested on animals.
Leaping Bunny has never allowed final product testing whether that takes place before or after a product is placed on the market, and it still won’t.
Leaping Bunny does not allow any animal testing of new raw materials or ingredients to be used in products, whether this is testing required by a regulator or exploratory testing by a company. It still won’t.
Leaping Bunny does not allow animal testing for cosmetics purposes, whether this is for new or existing cosmetic ingredients and raw materials. For example, testing for cosmetics purposes required by regions such as the USA or China would not be allowed, regardless of whether the ingredient or raw material is new to the market there or not. It still won’t.
Up to now, Leaping Bunny has not allowed any new animal testing of the ingredients or raw materials used in our certified products to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations. We’re not about to open the floodgates to this type of testing either. However, because authorities like the European Chemicals Agency are now encroaching on cosmetics, we will now very reluctantly maintain Leaping Bunny status where an ingredient or raw material is subject to enforced regulatory animal testing for non-cosmetic purposes – this is testing that is completely beyond the control of brands. Additionally, that ingredient or raw material must already have been in use for that purpose in that market.
The Leaping Bunny team will be screening every incidence of any animal testing. Cruelty Free International will be focused on making sure that everything is done to stop this testing from happening in the first place and to making sure that the cosmetics testing bans are properly implemented.
We believe that it’s important to be transparent and to make sure you have this information so that you can make informed choices when you shop.
Why should I continue to look for Leaping Bunny brands?
The Leaping Bunny certification is still the best globally-recognised cruelty free assurance. The certification remains stronger than any testing bans anywhere in the world and acts as a beacon for markets where there are no bans yet in place.
Cosmetics companies have very long supply chains. In other words, there are lots of different stages that take place before the product you buy goes on the shelf. Leaping Bunny is the only global certification that checks every step of the supply chain where animal testing can occur. So, when a chemical manufacturer first makes an ingredient for use in cosmetics, Leaping Bunny certification involves checking that none of the ingredients a brand uses were tested on animals at that stage. This is what is called pre-market testing, and we don’t permit any of this for our brands. Various suppliers and distributors may then be involved in selling these materials on through the chain. Again, we make sure that there’s no animal testing here either. Next, a product manufacturer buys the materials to make the products you know, for the brands you recognise.
This is why it is clear that Leaping Bunny is the most rigorous, global, cruelty free accreditation. And we don’t stop there. Unlike some cruelty free accreditations, we take nothing on trust. Whereas others may accept a one-off declaration from the brand or their product manufacturer, we insist on declarations from everyone involved in the supply chain where animal testing can occur, and we continue to check the declarations regularly after a brand has certified, using audits conducted independently of Leaping Bunny and Cruelty Free International, so you have the best assurance the brand is maintaining standards.
You can imagine how hard the enforced regulatory testing changes are for us and for our Leaping Bunny brands. We want you to know that Leaping Bunny continues to demonstrate which brands are truly committed to ending animal testing and are willing to go the extra mile. It remains the best assurance that a company is doing all it can to ensure its products, raw materials and ingredients are cruelty free.
In addition, unlike other certifications, we combine the full rigour of the certification with our impactful campaigning to end animal testing everywhere and forever, and our experts continue to challenge and fight every ECHA request for an animal test. Our brands join us in this conviction.
We believe that it’s important to be transparent and to make sure you have this information so that you can make informed choices when you shop.
What is Cruelty Free International doing about it? What are the next steps?
We are appealing to Leaping Bunny brands, to other companies, the cosmetics industry, decision-makers and to you to join the fight to stop ECHA cosmetics testing and help save the future of cruelty free products and the many animals that will suffer if we don't.
As a first step, we are launching a Europe-wide petition calling on European authorities to intervene and ensure that the EU cosmetics testing bans are enforced in the way they were intended.
We are also writing directly to ECHA, as well as to the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, to express our concerns and offer our advice and expertise. We have asked them whether they agree with us that:
- The ban on testing cosmetic products and ingredients takes precedence over what would otherwise be required or permitted under REACH
- The ban on marketing cosmetic products and ingredients that have been tested on animals takes precedence over what would otherwise be required or permitted under REACH
- The bans would still apply regardless of where (whether inside or outside the EU) an animal test under REACH takes place
- The bans apply irrespective of whether a substance is exclusively used in cosmetic products or not.
We will continue to campaign until we stop this. Join us!
May 2019 is when elections to the European Parliament take place, and we will be making this issue central to that campaign.
We are in the UK and the UK is set to leave the EU soon. What implications does Brexit have?
What can we do in the UK?
We have already asked the UK government on a number of occasions what will happen to the regulation of chemicals should the UK leave the EU. At present, the government foresees the creation of a UK version of REACH and the Chemicals Agency. We are concerned that this should be done in a way that does not incur duplicate animal testing and are also lobbying to ask government to use this as an opportunity to reduce and replace animal testing in chemicals management.
In response to a parliamentary question inspired by Cruelty Free International, the government has committed to maintain the cosmetics testing and marketing bans. We will be writing to government again to stress our hope that these bans are fully respected, and any UK chemicals agency does not take the same path as ECHA with regard to cosmetics overreach.
Again, we will be asking UK supporters to help us with this and contact their members of parliament and government ministers. As soon as know more about the government’s plans, we will let you know and involve you in any response.