2013 is set to be a truly historic year for Cruelty Free International and The Body Shop. On 11th March 2013, the EU is expected to end the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics. This ban is the accumulation of over 20 years of campaigning, spearheaded by the BUAV, founder of Cruelty Free International, and The Body Shop, known for its core value of Against Animal Testing.

In 1973 the BUAV brought the use of animals in cosmetics tests to UK public attention for the first time, encouraging people to shop cruelty-free. This was followed up by the BUAV’s popular ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ campaign in the 1980s.

In 1990 the BUAV established the European Coalition to End Cosmetics Tests on Animals with a specific call for a ban on the cruel use of animals to test cosmetics in Europe. This set in motion a high-profile lobbying campaign across Europe, symbolised by the iconic, larger-than-life laboratory rabbit Vanity.

The Body Shop was the first and most long-standing cosmetics company to take action on this issue, supporting the campaign since 1990. In 1996 Dame Anita Roddick joined the BUAV and our European partners, MEPs and Chrissie Hynde in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission. The Body Shop was the first international cosmetics company to gain BUAV certification under the Humane Cosmetics Standard, launched in 1997, and proudly displays the Leaping Bunny logo in their stores worldwide.

However the campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics in the EU suffered a number of setbacks and years of debate between the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers ensued, despite overwhelming support from the public, politicians, and celebrities.

A ban was finally negotiated in the European Union in February 2003 which saw a phased approach agreed. The first stage was implemented on 11th March 2009, when the 7th amendment to the Cosmetics Directive brought into force two bans, and it became illegal to test cosmetic ingredients on animals anywhere in the EU and to sell or import into the EU any ingredients to be used in cosmetics tested on animals after that date. However, three types of animal tests were exempt from this until March 2013 in order to allow non-animal alternatives to be validated.

In 2011 it became clear that the European Commission was considering recommending that the final part of the ban be delayed for up to ten years to allow alternatives to be developed. The BUAV immediately set about making the case for the ban, and the EU is now due to implement the ban in March 2013 as promised.

Although this is a huge achievement, shockingly over 80% of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics. So in 2012 the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first organisation to campaign for a global ban on animal tests for consumer products. The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International joined forces again, launching a global pledge in The Body Shop’s stores in 55 countries around the world, the largest and most ambitious campaign of its kind.

In 2012 The Body Shop customers helped Cruelty Free International put the issue of animal testing for cosmetics on the agenda of many Governments for the first time and meetings to achieve change have now been held with Governments across the globe.

The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International remain committed to this issue and continue to call governments across the rest of the world to ban animal testing. The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International are planning further activities later in 2013.

Source & Photo: Cruelty Free International