21 March 2013
Tiziano Motti (PPE)
The period for phasing out animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe ended on 11 March 2013. With effect from that date, cosmetics tested on animals may no longer be marketed within the EU, as has been laid down in Directive 2003/15/EC amending Directive 76/768/EEC.
The Commission has carefully weighed up the effects of a marketing ban and considers that there are compelling reasons to impose one. That view is shared by the many European citizens who firmly believe that developing cosmetic products is not an end to be achieved by means of animal testing.
According to the Commission, research into alternative methods will continue, given that animal testing cannot yet be replaced completely by such methods. The Commission allocated approximately EUR 238 million for that purpose between 2007 and 2011.
Can the Commission say in detail what has been the outcome of this research?
Does it think that the research into methods offering an alternative to animal testing can move forward and produce satisfactory results in the short or medium term when there are no funds earmarked for it?
As regards active participation in the research into alternative methods, what role will be played by the millions of citizens opposed to animal testing?
Answer given by Ms Geoghegan-Quinn on behalf of the Commission
18 April 2013
EU-funded research under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) has focused on the main challenge in research into alternative methods, namely the lack of basic scientific knowledge in toxicological and biomedical sciences. Such knowledge is essential to be able to ascertain with confidence all the possible adverse effects that a chemical could have on an organism.
EU-supported research has produced a large body of scientific knowledge, which has been published in mainstream scientific journals. This research has required — and resulted in — the simultaneous development of new research methods, based on ‘omics’ technologies, systems biology and computational approaches, and in vitro (cell based) test systems. This activity is continuing under FP7, for example through the public-private consortium SEURAT-1 (http://www.seurat-1.eu). The key aspect of validation of alternative methods is closely followed by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) of the Commission's Joint Research Centre. Further details on results and current progress in EU-supported projects are available at the website of the EU coordination action AXLR8 (http://www.axlr8.eu).
The Commission proposal for Horizon 2020 — the framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) envisages further support to methods offering an alternative to animal testing.(1) At this stage of the legislative process, however, it is not possible to predict the possible allocation of funds to this area of research. As under in FP7, the Commission will encourage the involvement of all stakeholders in Horizon 2020 activities.