Michelle's Blog

The latest from the BUAV's Chief Executive...


A ban on animal testing for cosmetics - the countdown to victory!

I am delighted that our long-fought campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics is finally nearing an end in Europe, with the implementation of the last phase of the European Union’s ban set to come into force on 11th March 2013. I am immensely proud of this achievement, it has been a long hard battle – the BUAV has been campaigning to end animal testing for cosmetics for over 40 years in the UK and Europe– and we have finally done it! Thank you to everyone who has supported our work over the years.

It was back in 1973 that we brought the use of animals in cosmetics tests to public attention for the first time, encouraging people to shop cruelty-free.  This was followed up by our popular ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ campaign in the 1980s, with our campaign bus that travelled the country on a national tour to spread the word.   

In 1990, we established the European Coalition to End Cosmetics Tests on Animals (now the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments – ECEAE) with our colleagues in Europe specifically to call for a ban on the cruel use of animals to test cosmetics in Europe. This was to be the start of our long and high-profile campaign across Europe which has spanned 23 years! You can view some of these historical images on the No Cruel Cosmetics website.

Over the years our campaign has attracted large amounts of support from the public, politicians, and celebrities alike, including Sir Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley, Jenny Seagrove, Sienna Miller, Chrissie Hynde, Morrissey and Joss Stone, who have all lent their support.

Our campaign has suffered a number of setbacks – thanks in part to the powerful cosmetics industry which was vehemently opposed to any proposal for a ban at the time.  

Then two years ago it became clear that the European Commission was set to recommend delaying the final part of the ban for up to ten years to allow alternatives to be developed. We immediately launched our No Cruel Cosmetics campaign, along with our colleagues in the ECEAE, and set about making the case for the ban. With the support of politicians, cruelty-free cosmetics companies, celebrities and a quarter of a million concerned supporters, just like yourself, Europe has finally listened and the ban looks set to come into force in March 2013 as promised!

It has been a long and difficult journey to reach this final conclusion in Europe, but for us the story certainly does not end here. Shockingly over 80% of the world still allows animal testing for cosmetics. So, as many of you will know, last year I took the decision to launch Cruelty Free International to repeat our success in Europe across the world. 

I really feel that now is the time for us to create this change for animals – countries including Israel are already stepping up and banning animal testing for cosmetics – and with the drive of our new global organisation and your continued support, I know we can make the world a better place for animals in 2013!

Until next time...