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June 20, 2012

"White Rabbits" Deliver Petition To European Commissioner John Dalli to Urge EU-Wide Sales Ban on Animal-Tested Cosmetics

HSI and LUSH Cosmetics collected 350,000 signatures in support of a Cruelty-Free Europe by 2013

Humane Society International/Europe

Update, June 22, 2012: HSI was concerned to learn in a June 20 private meeting with Commissioner Dalli that a weakening of the promised 2013 sales ban was still being considered.

BRUSSELS, Belgium—Twenty-seven "white rabbits" descended on Brussels to deliver a 350,000-signature petition to John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, to help end the suffering of animals used to test cosmetics sold in the European Union. Dressed in white-rabbit costumes, the petitioners, each representing one of the 27 EU Member States, are part of Humane Society International’s campaign to ban the sale of animal-tested cosmetics by 2013.

HSI teamed up with global cosmetics retailer LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics to collect the signatures from consumers eager to see an end to cosmetics cruelty. Celebrities such as Leona Lewis, Ricky Gervais, Ke$ha, Melanie C, Mary McCartney, Chrissie Hynde, Sir Roger Moore, Virginia McKenna and Brigitte Bardot are amongst the petition signatories.

The EU banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2009, but ingredients can still be tested on animals in other countries such as Brazil, China and the United States and then be added to cosmetic products sold in EU shops. A ban on selling these animal-tested cosmetics is due to come into force in March 2013. As the EU is the world’s largest market for cosmetics sales, the ban would create a major financial incentive for cosmetic companies to stop animal testing. However, Commissioner Dalli is considering a proposal that would undermine the ban by giving cosmetics companies a loophole to continue profiting from animal suffering.

“Our rabbits are bringing a heartfelt message to Commissioner Dalli about animal-tested cosmetics sold in Europe: Animals are dying because Europe is buying. We and hundreds of thousands of consumers are calling on EU policy makers to keep their promise to stop the suffering by banning the sale of animal-tested cosmetics in 2013,” said Emily McIvor, EU senior policy adviser for HSI/Europe. “Let’s close Europe’s doors to cosmetics suffering and ensure that the EU goes cruelty-free.”

Humane Society International’s bid to ban animal-tested cosmetics in Europe is part of its global Be Cruelty-Free campaign which aims to end cosmetics animal testing worldwide. LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics supports the campaign and helped to collect petition signatures throughout its EU stores. Representatives of LUSH have written to Commissioner Dalli refuting the case made by some cosmetics companies that the ban would harm commercial interests.

“LUSH is a highly successful global cosmetics retailer making tens of thousands of innovative beauty products each year, sold in 48 countries through our 700 stores, and we have never needed or wanted to test on animals because thousands of ingredients that are already known to be safe are available,” said Hilary Jones, ethics director at LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. “I cannot imagine why any company anywhere would want to cause animal suffering when making quality, safe, cruelty-free products is so easy. Our customers want to buy cruelty-free cosmetics, and we are delighted to respond to that clear customer demand.”

In cosmetics testing, animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and hamsters are force-fed cosmetic products and ingredients, or have them dripped into their eyes or on to their skin. In some cases, animals are chemically overdosed to the point of death or chemicals are fed to pregnant mothers to see the effect on their unborn babies. Check out hsi.org/becrueltyfree for campaign news and cruelty-free consumer advice.


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

Notes to Editors:

  • The 27 rabbits will present the petition outside the EU Commission building at 4.30pm local time. The presentation will be followed by a private meeting with the Commissioner to discuss the sales ban.
  • The EU sales ban was introduced as part of the 7th Amendment to the EU Cosmetics Directive.
  • The European Commission is expected to put forward a legislative proposal later this year, either to maintain or delay the 2013 ban. The European Parliament and Council will then debate and vote on the proposal.

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Humane Society International/Europe and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations — backed by 11 million people. 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 hsieurope.org.

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