More than 1.4 million people in the European Union have signed the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “For Cruelty-Free Cosmetics.” The campaign seeks to end the use of animal testing by the European cosmetics industry, which often use animals to test consumer products.
The citizens' initiative was launched in August 2021 by animal rights groups Cruelty-Free Europe, PETA, Eurogroup for Animals, and the European Coalition to End Animal Testing. The initiative has been openly promoted by some companies in the cosmetics and personal care industry, such as The Body Shop and Dove, as well as by other groups across Europe.
According to NGO Animal Rights, each year, more than 10 million animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, and others undergo testing in laboratories across Europe.
“Today, European citizens are demanding an end to the cruel use of animals to test ingredients in cosmetics and other chemicals, as well as an ambitious plan to end all animal testing,” the animal rights group said in a statement.
At the closing date for collecting signatures at the end of 31 August, 1,413,383 people had joined the campaign, including 11,229 Belgians. This is the second European citizens initiative on this issue to surpass the one million threshold. In 2015, the “Stop Vivisection” campaign also broke the one million mark.
“We did it! Together, we have consistently called for action to protect laboratory animals, and we have made history. This is one of the most important days for suffering animals in the world which are suffering cruel treatment,” Jen Hochmuth, campaign coordinator for Animal Rights, told the Belga news agency.
- Nearly half a million animals killed in Belgian laboratories in 2020
- Activists in animal suits dance to end animal testing
The group now hopes that the European Commission, members of the European Parliament, and national government will take “immediate action to end animal testing for cosmetics.”
Animal Rights is also calling to work towards a comprehensive ban on animal testing, stating that they want to “relegate all animal testing to the history books, where it belongs.”
Correction: In a previous version of this article, it was mistakenly stated that the ECI ‘For Cruelty – Free Cosmetics’ was only the second European citizens initiative to the pass the one million threshold. In fact, several initiatives have passed the threshold since the ECI started in 2012, besides ‘Stop Vivisection’ also animal welfare ECI ‘End the Cage Age’ in 2020.