BRUSSELS—In an unprecedented milestone, the European Citizens Initiative “‘Save Cruelty-Free Cosmetics —Commit to a Europe without animal testing” reached more than 1.2 million validated signatures in January. This is the second ECI on this issue that has surpassed the one million signature mark.
Continuing on its formal journey, after an initial meeting between the ECI organisers and the European Commission, the next step was the parliamentary hearing, held by the Committees of the European Parliament. The hearing was divided into three parts, corresponding with the ECI’s three objectives:
- Protect and strengthen the cosmetics animal testing ban: initiate legislative change to achieve consumer, worker and environmental protection for all cosmetics ingredients without testing on animals for any purpose at any time.
- Transform EU chemicals regulation: ensure human health and the environment are protected by managing chemicals without the addition of new animal testing requirements.
- Modernise science in the EU: commit to a legislative proposal, plotting a roadmap to phase-out all animal testing in the EU, before the end of the current legislative term.
The ECI organisers: Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Humane Society International/Europe, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals proposed actions for a win-win-win scenario for science, society and animals by supporting once again a plan to transition to non-animal science.
During the hearing, the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs—the Commission’s department for growth—committed to “try to be as ambitious as we can possibly be” in reaching their “ultimate goal of phasing out animal testing in the long-term”. This was reiterated by Ms Carmen Laplaza Santos, of the EC’s Health Innovations & Ecosystems unit, who promised the Commission’s final and detailed response to the Initiative by the end of July.
Over ten million animals—cats, dogs, rabbits, mice and others—are harmed every year in research and testing in laboratories around Europe. European citizens are demanding an end to the use of animals in cosmetics and other chemical tests, as well as an achievable plan to transition to a science without the use of animals.
Troy Seidle, Humane Society International vice president of research and toxicology, said:
“Reforms to the EU’s chemicals law are urgently needed to close loopholes that have allowed authorities to demand new animal tests for cosmetic ingredients, and reposition animal-free approaches as the gold standard for modern safety assessment. The much anticipated REACH reform process is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for EU institutions to honour the will of citizens who supported this ECI by standing firm against the introduction of new or expanded animal test requirements. Going forward, citizens expect that every legal reform process will tangibly reduce the testing burden on animals—not make it worse—until the EU’s stated goal of full replacement is achieved.”
This overwhelming public support echoes the position taken in 2021 by the European Parliament, which led to a resolution calling on the European Commission to coordinate, together with Member States, a concrete plan to accelerate the transition to non-animal testing.
The EP hearing was also the occasion to launch the Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing briefing prepared by the ECI organisers.
“Citizens are calling on the EC to take a leadership role in the transition to non-animal science and drive a new way of thinking without animal experiments. We would like to thank the citizens, the NGOs, the researchers, the industry, the governments and the members of parliament that already support these goals. This ECI shows that EU citizens share many of this Parliament’s positions as laid out in the EP Resolution. We are confident that the EP will help to break the cycle of harms that come with animal experimentation, by supporting once again the end of all animal testing for cosmetics, no additional animal tests for safety assessments, and a roadmap to accelerate the transition to non-animal research, regulatory testing, and education,” commented Sabrina Engel, chair of the organising committee for the ECI.
Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, International Coordinator, Media Relations, Humane Society International/Europe: firstname.lastname@example.org ; +32 (0) 469 149 469