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Key Facts



  • In March 2009 it became illegal to test cosmetic ingredients on animals anywhere in the EU or sell or import into the EU any animal tested ingredients to be used in cosmetics.
  • In March 2013 the EU is set to also ban the import and sale of all newly animal-tested cosmetic products and ingredients in the European Union.
  • The ECEAE’s Humane Cosmetics Standard, symbolised by the Leaping Bunny is the only internationally recognised scheme that guarantees a company has moved away from animal testing. Animal testing for cosmetics is still allowed in other parts of the world so look out for the Leaping Bunny logo to be sure you are buying truly ‘cruelty-free’ cosmetics, toiletries and beauty products.
  • Each batch of botox that hits the high street has been tested on hundreds of mice with the controversial Lethal Dose (LD50) poisoning test. The mice are injected into the abdomen with botox and then observed to see how many die. They become increasingly paralysed, eventually gasping for breath and, if left, will suffocate to death.
  • Botox is licensed in the EU as a medical treatment, but it is more commonly known for its ‘off-label’ cosmetic use. This loophole means that mice can still legally be used in botox tests, even though using animals to test cosmetics products has been banned in the EU since 2004.
  • There is already a valid test tube alternative that does not use live animals for the testing of Dysport® (a type of botox manufactured by Ipsen Biopharm) which can be used to replace the mouse poisoning test. It was developed and has been used by an independent UK Government laboratory for over 10 years.

Find out more facts about botox and animal testing

  • REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substance) is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). Up to 54 million animals will be used to test the safety of an estimated 30,000 or more chemicals between now and 2018.
  • Many of the chemicals to be evaluated for REACH have already been privately animal-tested years ago by the companies that manufacture them. Thanks to ECEAE campaigning, data-sharing is now a central feature of the legislation and there are penalties for companies that don’t comply.
  • The use of alternatives to animal testing has also been placed centrally in REACH legislation thanks to the ECEAE’s campaign. Article 1 specifically states that one of the aims of REACH is the ‘promotion of alternative methods of assessment of hazards of substances’.
  • REACH legislation states that proposals for some of these animal tests must be open to public scrutiny for 45 days. This gives us a chance to provide information from other sources which might prevent the test happening, and save animals from suffering and death.

Find out more facts about REACH and animal testing

  • Every year over 10,000 nonhuman primates are used in experiments within Europe (according to the latest EU statistics from 2005). No law specifically calls for primates to be used in research in the EU, and opinion polls suggest that the overwhelming majority of the public [link to public opinion below] do not believe that experiments on monkeys are acceptable.
  • Many of the primates used in European laboratories are imported from countries outside the EU. Some are taken from the wild and exported to the EU from countries such as Mauritius and Barbados. Others will have either been born or bred in captivity in their country of origin from breeding colonies often permitted to be ‘re-stocked’ with monkeys taken directly from the wild.
  • According to the most recent figures available from the EU (2005), less than 20% of primate research is for developing medicines for humans. 67% of primates are used in toxicological (poisoning) research, during which the monkeys are regularly dosed, sometimes for several months, with chemicals through injection or forced ingestion.

Find out more facts about the trade in primates for research


According to the latest available figures, over 12 million animals are used by EU researchers every year – equivalent to 137 animals suffering in cruel and painful experiments every 10 minutes.

The 275 countries in the EU in 2008 reported that they used:

  • 24,119 dogs
  • 312, 681 rabbits
  • 649,183 birds
  • 10,449 monkeys

Recent research by the BUAV and the Dr Hadwen Trust suggests that up to 115 million vertebrate animals could be used in testing worldwide each year. We estimate that the 10 countries using the most animals in experiments are:

  • United States
  • Japan
  • China
  • Australia
  • France
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Taiwan
  • Brazil

Find out more statistics on animal testing

Public opinion

An opinion poll carried out in February and March 2009 in six EU Member States (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Czech Republic) by leading polling company YouGov found the following:

  • 81% of people surveyed agree or strongly agree the new law (Directive 86/609/EEC) should prohibit all experiments causing pain or suffering to primates
  • 79% of people agree or strongly agree the new law should prohibit all experiments on animals which do not relate to serious or life-threatening human conditions
  • 84% of people surveyed agree or strongly agree the new law should prohibit all experiments causing severe pain or suffering to any animal
  • 80% of people agree or strongly agree all information about animal experiments should be publicly available except information which is confidential and information which would identify researchers or where they work
  • 73% of people disagree or strongly disagree that the new law should permit experiments causing pain or suffering to cats
  • 77% of people disagree or strongly disagree that the new law should permit experiments causing pain or suffering to dogs  

Find out more about public opinion on animal testing

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