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The BBC's Europe correspondent Justin Webb:
reports on the decision to ban all comestic products involving animal testing
 real 28k

Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Euro MPs fight 'cruel' cosmetics
Mouse being injected
European MPs say cruelty should not be "exported"
Members of the European Parliament have voted to ban the sale of all cosmetics which have been tested on animals.

The ban will take at least four years to come into effect, and must first be approved by all EU member governments.

I think we can do without animal testing to make toothpaste

German MEP
Dagmar Roth-Behrendt
But if it finally goes ahead, the move could trigger a trade war with the US, where some of the world's biggest cosmetics firms are based.

Euro MPs have decided that simply banning experiments within Europe exports the cruelty to other countries.

So the ban would cover any new product which has involved animal experiments, even if those tests took place outside Europe.

"We want to stop animal testing, not export it to the rest of the world," said a statement from the European Labour Party, firmly behind the ban.

One of the ban's main backers, German Socialist MEP Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, acknowledged that the move could spark a trade war with the United States.

We want to stop animal testing, not export it to the rest of the world

European Labour Party
"Once you throw a stone into the water the waves move out in concentric circles," she said.

But she pointed out that only European markets would be affected.

"US companies can continue conducting animal testing," she said.

"They can carry on selling their products between California and New York and Alaska, or Japan or Russia or wherever they want. But not in the European Union."

There is concern of a new trade dispute with the EU after beef or bananas

US cosmetics trade association
Critics see the move as a draconian measure which would remove from the European market a wide range of products manufactured by some household names in the cosmetics industry.

Those companies say the ban would cost jobs and restrict choice for European consumers and may also be against the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Louis Santucci, vice-president of the US Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, said there was concern at the prospect of a new US-European trade war following other spats over beef and bananas.

L'Oreal jobs

He predicted that the issue would go before the WTO to be settled.

Some European firms could also be hit, including French giant L'Oreal, which is a big employer in France.

Up to two years of negotiations between European MPs and the European Union's national governments are now expected.

The testing of cosmetics on animals is already banned in the UK, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, but products tested in other countries are sold.

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