Campaigners celebrate cosmetic animal testing ban but insist still more to be done


After 20 years, The Body Shop have succeeded in getting the practice banned throughout the EU


By Christine Dorisamy-Pillai

After a campaign lasting over 20 years, The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International have finally been successful in getting cosmetic animal testing banned throughout the EU.

This means that, since March 11, any company wishing to sell cosmetic products anywhere in the EU, from soaps and toothpastes to make up and deodorants, are not allowed to test them at all on animals.

Now they are pushing to go one step further to get the ban put into place internationally. The Body Shop has launched a petition in their stores globally and online, and is encouraging their customers to sign it.

Although it has taken over two decades to achieve the EU wide ban, campaigners would like to see the next step come to fruition much sooner than that.

Jessie Macneil-Brown, Global Campaigns Manager at The Body Shop International, said: “Decades of campaigning experience at The Body Shop tell us that if we can globally mobilise the voice of our customers, industry and effective NGO’s such as Cruelty free International, to create constructive dialogue with governments and regulators, we can hopefully bring animal testing in cosmetics to an end.

“It took 20 years to bring in an EU ban on animal testing in cosmetics, we hope it will be quicker than that but we’re also aware that these things can take time.”

With numbers of petition signatures increasing daily, it looks like consumer attitudes are changing as a greater awareness to ethical retail is being promoted.

“It is something I consider when shopping because I don’t think that animal testing is necessary. I don’t think there are many shops that support it these days anyway” said Wimbledon Body Shop customer, David Stevens, 43.

Lizzie Moore, 30, has a similar view. She said: “It’s just cruel to test on animals.”

Whilst there are some shoppers such as Lin Yi, 18, and Rowshanara, 22, who don’t consider the issue when making their purchases, the ban does seem to be in response to the interests of the consumer.

It is now not enough for companies to make products affordable – they have to be ethical too.

In recent years, with new scientific technologies being developed, there also seems to be less and less need for cosmetic animal testing.

“Thanks to the ban, companies have been investing in modern, humane non-animal testing methods, developing new tests that spare animals’ lives and actually protect people,” said Ben Williamson, a spokesperson for The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation, an animal rights charity.

“As these technologies grow in power and influence, governments will seek to protect them, just as animal experiments have been sheltered in years gone by.”

With backing from governments and pressure from consumers, it seems that an international ban on cosmetic animal testing is well on its way.

“Ultimately, consumers will punish irresponsible companies. The best thing that consumers can do to ensure that they are not contributing to cruelty is to continue to buy from companies that have signed on to PETA US’ cruelty-free list,” added Mr Williamson.

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