Campaigners celebrate as EU set to ban animal testing for cosmetics

LONDON — A ban on importing and selling animal-tested cosmetics products and ingredients will enter into force in March. The ban affects all cosmetics, including toiletries and beauty products.

"I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council already have decided. I therefore am not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban," Commissioner Tonio Borg wrote in a recent letter to animal testing campaigners.

After more than 20 years of campaigning, beauty retailer The Body Shop, who will not be affected by the ban as it has always been against animal testing, and nonprofit organization Cruelty Free International are celebrating the end to animal testing for cosmetics in Europe. This means that from March 11 onward, anyone who wishes to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world, the groups stated.

To celebrate the victory, The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International stated that they are launching a range of special commemorative activities in the countdown to March 11.

The groups stated that the proposed ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty-free beauty, and to particular countries such as China, who still demand animal testing for cosmetics, to also respond and ban testing on animals.

"This is truly an historic event and the culmination of more than 20 years of campaigning. Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead,” stated Cruelty Free International CEO Michelle Thew.

In 1991, the BUAV — founder of Cruelty Free International — established a European coalition of leading animal protection organizations across Europe, or ECEAE, with the objective to end the use of animal testing for cosmetics. This set in motion a high-profile public and political campaign across Europe spanning more than 20 years. In 1993, The Body Shop, the first beauty company to take action on animal testing for cosmetics, supported the campaign by enlisting the support of its consumers across Europe. Three years later in 1996, Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the ECEAE and MEPs in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission.

In 2012, the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first global organization dedicated to ending cosmetics animal testing worldwide. The Body Shop, together with Cruelty Free International, launched a new international campaign, which has so far resulted in customers from 55 countries signing a global pledge supporting an end to animal testing for cosmetics forever.

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