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March 11, 2013

HSI Welcomes Today’s EU Sales Ban on Animal-Tested Cosmetics As Major Moral Milestone

Humane Society International

  • Be Cruelty-Free. iStock

STRASBOURG—Humane Society International enthusiastically welcomes the long-awaited implementation of a European Union-wide ban on selling newly animal-tested cosmetics. HSI has led the high-profile Be Cruelty-Free campaign, with support from stars such as Leona Lewis, Ricky Gervais, Melanie C and Ke$ha, to see the EU sales ban enforced in full and on time.

Testing cosmetics on animals has been banned across the EU since 2009. But until today, retailers still could sell cosmetics containing ingredients that had been animal-tested in other countries. With the sales ban, the EU becomes the world’s largest cruelty-free cosmetics market [1]. To celebrate this historic milestone, HSI and the HSUS have launched Be Cruelty-Free Week, with awareness-raising activities happening across the globe, and call on the global cosmetics industry to end cruelty for beauty once and for all.

“Testing cosmetics on rabbits and guinea pigs is the ugly face of the beauty industry,” said Troy Seidle, Be Cruelty-Free campaign director for HSI. “With the EU closing its doors to animal-tested cosmetics, the beginning of the end of global cosmetics cruelty is within our grasp. EU citizens made it clear that they don’t want their mascara or shampoo to have been dripped in a rabbit’s eye or force fed to mice in massive doses, no matter where in the world that suffering has taken place. EU policymakers listened, and today is a major moral milestone in the history of ending cosmetics animal testing. Of course, cosmetics cruelty could end immediately if companies simply stopped testing on animals and selling their products in countries that require such testing. So Humane Society International sends this sincere message to the global cosmetics industry: Please don’t ignore this momentous mandate for ending animal testing. It’s time to listen to consumers; it’s time to take cruelty out of the beauty business.”

EU officials adopted legislation to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics in Member States in 1993. However, officials repeatedly delayed implementation over successive years. EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg affirmed his commitment to the sales ban as he assumed his new role late last year. Read a timeline history of the EU ban.

HSI is now working in India, Canada, Brazil, South Korea and beyond to encourage other countries to follow Europe’s compassionate lead. HSI’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign has seen stars such as Melanie C and Ricky Gervais sport ‘End Animal Testing’ tattoos; a heart-felt Valentine’s card message from Leona Lewis to the Commissioner; nearly half a million petition signatures collected in partnership with LUSH Handmade Cosmetics; and a white rabbit flash mob outside the European Commission in Brussels.

“Industry was shocked when the law was passed, and claimed that it could destroy Europe's cosmetics business,” said Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, a member of the European Parliament’s negotiating team on the cosmetics legislation in 2003. “But since then many businesses have cooperated in the development of non-animal tests and great progress has been made. Cosmetic manufacturers came to realise that it's bad for business if customers associate their products with animal cruelty. A common European measure was necessary because no one country could have introduced these requirements by itself. The hope now must be that it will become the global standard, and that manufacturers across the world will work to eliminate animal testing.”

To celebrate Be Cruelty-Free Week and the historic EU sales ban, sign the Be Cruelty-Free pledge at hsi.org/becrueltyfree and help HSI create a world where no animal has to suffer and die for the sake of cosmetics.

Read our Q&A fact sheet on the EU sales ban.


Media Contact: 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.

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

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