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September 26, 2013

Leona Lewis & Owain Yeoman Photo Campaign Says Bunnies are for Hugging, Not Hurting in Cosmetics Tests

Stars support Be Cruelty-Free campaign for International Rabbit Day

Humane Society International

LONDON—"The Mentalist" star Owain Yeoman and singer Leona Lewis are showing bunnies some love this International Rabbit Day. They are supporting Humane Society International’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign to put an end to animal testing for cosmetics around the world.

The stars feature in exclusive photos in which they can be seen cuddling up to rabbits, one of the most commonly used animals in cosmetics testing. Owain's photo shows the actor sporting a Be Cruelty-Free t-shirt with rescued rabbit Nibbles. Leona donated a photo from her personal collection for a day of global #BeCrueltyFree twitter action. The photo shows the singer with her own rescued bunny, Melrose.

Unlike in Europe, Israel and India where cosmetics animal testing is banned, elsewhere around the world there is no such legal ban preventing companies from testing cosmetic products or ingredients on animals. But HSI's Be Cruelty-Free campaign aims to see an end to the practice.

Yeoman said: “It's the saddest thing to know that rabbits can't cry, which is one of the reasons these gentle creatures are used in painful eye tests for cosmetics. When I think of their unnecessary suffering I could certainly shed a tear, so I'm backing the Be Cruelty-Free campaign to see an end to animal testing in North America and globally. Show the bunnies some love and let's end cosmetics cruelty.”

Lewis said: “Ending animal testing for cosmetics is close to my heart, and so is my bunny Melrose. Melrose is so gentle and loving with such an amazing personality all her own, it breaks my heart to know that there are thousands of rabbits, just as special, suffering a terrible fate to test cosmetics. I would never dream of causing Melrose pain, but in laboratories around the world, rabbits and other helpless animals still have chemicals dripped in their eyes or spread over their sensitive skin just to test new lip sticks or shampoo. I want their suffering to stop. I'm proud to be a bunny-hugger for Be Cruelty-Free on International Rabbit Day. Be a bunny-hugger too and let's end cosmetics cruelty!”

Around the world, rabbits are used in painful eye and skin irritation tests for consumer products. Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice all endure untold suffering for the beauty industry. Developed in the 1940s, skin and eye irritation tests involve holding rabbits in full body restraints so that chemicals can be dripped in their eye or spread on their shaved skin. These tests are notoriously unreliable as well as extremely cruel, causing eye reddening, swelling, ulceration, even blindness, or skin cracking and bleeding. Unlike humans, rabbits have no tear ducts so they can't cry out the harmful substances.

Be Cruelty-Free is the largest campaign in the world to end cosmetics animal testing. Globally, Humane Society International and our Be Cruelty-Free partners are leading the charge to end cosmetics cruelty in Australia, Brazil, China, Korea, New Zealand, Russia and beyond. Be Cruelty-Free USA is spearheaded by The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund.


Media contact: Wendy Higgins: +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org


Download our Blinded for Beauty fact sheet here.

International Rabbit Day is celebrated on 28 September.

Skin and eye tests on live rabbits can now be fully replaced by internationally recognised non-animal methods, such as EpiDerm™ and EpiSkin™ human skin models, and the BCOP and ICE tests for eye irritancy and corrosion.

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations. For nearly 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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