World Animal Day – How to Recognise Natural Cosmetics Free of Animal Experiments


Berlin, Germany – September 25, 2018

  • The legal situation is consequently improving
  • Cruelty-free products are identified best through seals
NATRUE has been campaigning for years for a ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry. Gaps in the law still lead to consumers not being sure if certain products are animal testing-free. During World Animal Day on October 4th NATRUE informs about the legal situation concerning animal experiments and how consumers can make sure to buy cruelty-free cosmetic products.

The current legal situation within the EU

For a long time, the cosmetics industry considered it the norm to carry out animal experiments on small animals such as mice, rabbits or guinea pigs. These tests were intended to ensure that certain ingredients of creams or decorative cosmetics were compatible with consumers and not harmful to their health.

Within the EU, testing of finished cosmetic products has been banned since September 11th in 2004. A ban on testing ingredients or combinations of ingredients has been in force since 11 March 2009. The claim “no animal testing” implies that not only manufacturers and their suppliers have not performed nor asked others to perform such tests but also that ingredients used in the formulation have not been tested on animals by others for the purpose of developing new cosmetics products. The advertising of products in the cosmetics industry for which animal tests have been carried out has also been prohibited since 2013. However, legal loopholes still make it possible for cosmetics tested on animals from non-European countries to enter the EU market.

The German Humane Society assumes that around 80 percent of countries worldwide still allow animal testing for cosmetics. In some countries, animal testing is still required by law in order to guarantee the compatibility of cosmetic products.

For this reason, in May 2018, the European Parliament unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to abolish animal testing in cosmetics worldwide by 2023. The United Nations is called upon to take "decisive action" to conclude an international agreement that will put a definitive end to animal testing in cosmetics worldwide. NATRUE has also made contact on this issue with members of the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament and has been campaigning for abolition.

These countries also deal with the issue

To-date 37 countries and major markets have already passed laws to end or limit cosmetic animal testing and/or sales, including the 28-member countries of the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and Guatemala.
  • In the North America legislation is currently under debate. In the USA in June 2017, the Humane Cosmetic Act bill was introduced to Congress to prohibit testing cosmetics on animals through legislation including provisions whereby “no cosmetic may be sold or transported if the final product or any component was developed or manufactured using animal testing”. The bill will be debated in the Subcommittee on Health before entering the whole chamber.
  • In October 2017, Canada’s Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology continued its examination of the ‘Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act’, which amends the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit cosmetic animal testing, the sale of cosmetics developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing, and establishes provisions that no evidence derived from animal testing may be used to establish the safety of a cosmetic.
  • Animal testing ban California – Beginning September California's senators unanimously voted to pass the act and send it to Governor, who will decide whether or not to sign it into law.
  • In August a bill to end animal testing in the development of cosmetics was also proposed in Colombia's Congress.
How to identify cruelty-free products

Those who want to be on the safe side when choosing a product to ensure that it has been manufactured without animal testing can best rely on the appropriate seals. These are shown on the product packaging, so that at first sight one can see that the product has been tested according to strict criteria.

The NATRUE seal is internationally valid and is used with over 6,000 products. Members of the label include the leading German natural cosmetics companies. NATRUE members choose to use many high-quality natural ingredients, which have a long history of safe use. Animal welfare is a core value of manufacturers of authentic Natural and Organic Cosmetics. NATRUE does not allow the use of artificial chemical substances and moreover the purchasing of organic products, generates important side benefits such as environmental care, increased biodiversity, animal welfare and rural development. NATRUE and its member companies care deeply for the well-being of humans, animals and plant habitats in a holistic manner.

The fact that animal testing is mandatory for all cosmetics and that alternatives to animal testing are not accepted for imported products on the Chines market has obliged NATRUE to ban the marketing of NATRUE certified products in China.

Another German seal that identifies animal experiment-free products is BDHI.

NATRUE is an international non-profit association for natural and organic cosmetics, based in Brussels and founded in 2007. The aim of the association is to promote and protect natural skin care and to create awareness for natural cosmetics. The NATRUE label sets high quality and performance standards to enable people worldwide to enjoy natural cosmetics that truly deserve their name. Currently, more than 6,000 products are NATRUE-certified. Further information can be found at:

« back