Animal rights groups and cosmetics industry giants are joining forces to say no to the re-introduction of animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe. The move follows new requirements from ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, seeking to make animal testing possible again in order to evaluate certain substances already used in the industry.

Online petition

The Body Shop and Dove, with the support of organizations including PETA, Cruelty Free Europe, HSI, Eurogroup for Animals and ECEAE, are today calling on European citizens to mobilize against these decisions by signing a "European Citizen’s Initiative" petition now available online.

In a joint statement, the brands explain that animal testing is no longer necessary to ensure safety in cosmetics, since modern, scientific, non-animal and equally human-relevant methods have been developed and used by specialists for decades.

A full ban that dates back to 2013

After many campaigns and advances in the fight against animal cruelty, the ban on the sale of cosmetic products tested on animals came into force in March 2013 in the European Union. The ban proved a model in the field, inspiring debate and reflection in many other countries around the world. But NGOs and cosmetics industry players now fear a return to the past following a decision by the ECHA’s Board of Appeal in 2020 to conduct tests on animals to assess two substances, homosalate and 2-ethylhexyl salicylate.

While terminating animal testing on finished products was achieved well before 2013, putting an end to the tests on ingredients required a huge amount of investment to develop alternative methods. And most of the research has been funded by the industry.

"At Dove, we stand passionately against animal cruelty. We strongly believe that there is no role for animal testing for beauty products or their ingredients, and have pioneered safe and humane alternatives to assess the safety of products and ingredients for many years. This commitment drives us to take urgent action to protect the ban against animal testing in the EU," explains Firdaous El Honsali, Senior Director of Global Communications and Sustainability at Dove.

Street murals in several European cities

In order to make the European petition known to as many people as possible, The Body Shop and Dove are taking to the streets of Berlin, Paris, Milan and Madrid with a full-scale awareness campaign. Thus, citizens will discover dedicated artworks on the walls of their cities, together with a slogan inviting people to join the fight to end animal testing and save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe. The campaign is being led hand in hand with the artist and activist, Nina Valkhoff.

"It’s sad that — once again — we have to fight a battle that Europe’s citizens thought they had already won, but with a successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), we can make decision-makers listen, protect the groundbreaking bans, and secure concerted action to end the suffering of animals in EU laboratories for good," hope the animal protection groups involved alongside the two cosmetic brands.