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March 11, 2013

As EU Bans Sales of Animal-Tested Cosmetics, Congresswoman Moon Jeong-lim Gets Behind Call for Korea to “Be Cruelty-Free”

Poll: Seven out of 10 South Koreans support national animal testing ban for cosmetics

Humane Society International

  • Congresswoman Moon Jeong-Lim pledges to Be Cruelty-Free. KARA

SEOUL (11 March 2013) — As the European Union implements its long-awaited ban on selling newly animal-tested cosmetics, Humane Society International and Korea Animal Rights Advocates are calling on the Republic of Korea to follow this example by enacting legislation to end cosmetics animal testing throughout the country. Their call is backed by leading congresswoman and presidential science advisor, Mrs. Moon Jeong-lim, who signed a Be Cruelty-Free pledge of support. A recent opinion poll undertaken on behalf of the organizations reveals that most Koreans also feel strongly about this issue, with a substantial majority supporting a nationwide ban on the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals.

Testing cosmetics on animals has been banned in the EU since 2009, and now sales of cosmetics containing ingredients newly animal-tested in other countries is also forbidden. Similar bans have been enacted in Israel, and are under discussion in India. In Korea, animal testing for cosmetics is not explicitly required by law, but neither is it prohibited. HSI and KARA have launched the Korean arm of the global Be Cruelty-Free campaign to ensure that no rabbit, guinea pig or other animal is ever again subject to distressing and painful testing in Korea for the sake of a new beauty product.

KARA’s Borami Seo said: “KARA is proud to partner with Humane Society International to launch Be Cruelty-Free in Korea. Animal tests cause unnecessary animal suffering but they are also the old face of science. Testing on mice and rabbits cannot reliably assure human safety, so replacing these tests with cutting-edge techniques is vital if Korea wants to keep pace with 21st-century research. We are honoured to have the support of such an esteemed scientific expert as Congresswoman Moon Jeong-lim and call on the Korean cosmetics industry to actively support Be Cruelty-Free.”

HSI campaigned vigorously to see the EU sales ban enforced. Last year, together with global cosmetics retailer LUSH, HSI presented nearly half-a-million petition signatures to the European Commission in Brussels. In January, HSI’s director of research and toxicology Troy Seidle, who heads the global Be Cruelty-Free initiative, visited Korea to meet with Congresswoman Moon, the Korea Food and Drug Administration and leading cosmetics companies.

The poll reveals:

  • Two out of every three South Koreans agree that animal testing “can cause pain and suffering to animals and it is not worth causing this kind of suffering just to test the safety of cosmetics, especially when there are safe ingredients already available.”
  • Seven out of every 10 Koreans questioned support a nationwide ban on the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals. Among those who were initially undecided or opposed, nearly half (49.2 percent) shifted their position to support a Korean ban after learning that the EU has already banned cosmetic testing on animals.

To celebrate the EU becoming the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetics market, HSI and KARA have launched Be Cruelty-Free Week to raise vital awareness and to call on the Korean cosmetics industry to turn its back on animal testing once and for all. Consumers are invited to show their support by signing a Be Cruelty-Free online pledge and by watching and a new thought-provoking animated video called ‘Bright Eyes.’ Launched via YouTube, Bright Eyes shows animal testing from the perspective of a rabbit called Warren and was generously donated by Australian Be Cruelty-Free partner Choose Cruelty Free.

To celebrate Be Cruelty-Free Week and help HSI and KARA end cosmetics animal suffering in Korea and worldwide, sign the pledge here or at your local Lush Cosmetics store.


Media contacts:

KARA: Borami Seo, +82 10 7666 1405, rami@ekara.org

Humane Society International: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org


1. The EU ban will make it illegal, from 11 March 2013, to market cosmetics within the European Union if the final product or any of its ingredients have been animal-tested anywhere in the world after 11 March 2013. It therefore prohibits the sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics and requires companies to use existing approved ingredients in their products. Cruelty-free cosmetics and ingredients are those which have not been subject to new animal testing after a specified date because they are already in safe use.

2. Poll results available here. Total sample size was 1000 interviews. Fieldwork was undertaken through personal interviews by YOU&ME Research (unme-poll.com) between 25-27 February 2013. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all Korean adults (aged 19+), with a ± 3.1% percent margin for error.

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the Web at hsi.org/becrueltyfree.

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