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How you can help save cruelty free cosmetics in Europe


Europe’s ban on animal testing for cosmetics is at risk. But Dove and The Body Shop are joining the world’s leading animal protection groups to defend it. And if you’re an EU citizen, you can help.

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At Unilever we believe in using science, not animals, to assess the safety of products and their ingredients, and we are working with partners to end animal testing for cosmetics worldwide. Today we’re proud to announce that our biggest beauty brand, Dove, is partnering with The Body Shop and leading animal protection groups to take a stand against new proposals which could signal the end of cruelty free cosmetics in Europe.

Together Dove, The Body Shop, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Cruelty Free Europe, Humane Society International (HSI), Eurogroup for Animals and the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) are urging EU citizens to ask the European Commission to uphold its longstanding ban on animal testing for cosmetics. The ban is under threat due to requests by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for animal tests on about 150 ingredients used in a wide range of consumer products which have been manufactured safely for many years.

Dove and The Body Shop are supporting the animal protection groups in launching a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – a mechanism for EU citizens to shape policy by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws.

Signatures from 1 million EU citizens are needed to get the European Commission to take action on safeguarding the ban – so if you’re eligible, please visit the link at the bottom of this page to show your support.

Use science, not animals

Animal testing for cosmetics products has been banned in Europe since 2004, after decades of campaigning from consumers, companies and animal protection organisations. In 2009, animal tests for cosmetics ingredients were prohibited in the EU. And in 2013 the EU prohibited the sale of cosmetics that had been tested on animals.

Until now the EU’s approach has been seen as a beacon for progressive policy in response to consumers’ demands and political pressure, sparking similar legislation in many countries. But the recent animal testing requirements from ECHA threaten the ban, as well as the progress the world has been making towards a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics. Many thousands of animals could be subjected to cruel and unnecessary tests.

Yet modern science and technology provides reliable alternatives to animal testing. Safety scientists have been developing and using non-animal methods for decades. You can read more about our work in this area and further details about ECHA’s proposals in this interview with Julia Fentem, Head of Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre and a passionate advocate for using leading-edge non-animal safety science to better protect people and our planet.

One million voices for change

We stand with Dove and its partners. It’s time to protect the ban and in turn save countless animals from harm. Here’s how you can help.

Dove, The Body Shop and over 100 animal protection organisations are aiming to get to 1 million signatures faster than any ECI in history, sending a clear message that consumers across Europe won’t accept broken promises, or regulations that mean animals suffer and die for cosmetics.

The ECI calls on the European Commission to safeguard existing regulations on animal testing for cosmetics and commit to establishing a roadmap to phase out animal testing in the EU.

“No role for animal testing for beauty products”

According to polls,[a] three-quarters of adults in EU member states agree that animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients is unacceptable in all circumstances, and 70% back a plan to phase out all animal testing.

“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,” says Firdaous El Honsali, Senior Director of Global Communications and Sustainability at Dove.

“This commitment drives us to take urgent action to protect the ban against animal testing in the EU. Together with our partners we encourage both our peers in the beauty industry and the general public to lend their voice in the fight to end animal testing in the EU once and for all by signing this European Citizens’ Initiative.”

Christopher Davis, Global CSR and Activism Director, The Body Shop International, adds: “Our work with our campaign partners Cruelty Free International led to the original European Union ban in 2013. Today, we are calling on the EU – home to the world’s largest cosmetics market – to stick to the trailblazing promise they made. We are proud to collaborate with Dove and speak as one voice, along with all those working towards a global end to animal testing for cosmetics, in support of this European Citizens’ Initiative.”

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EU citizens: take action

Sign the European Citizens’ Initiative and ask the European Commission to uphold the ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

[a] A European-wide survey among the public to gauge perceptions of animal testing in the EU.

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