The European Citizens’ Initiative
This European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) focuses on the use of animals for cosmetic testing and is trying to end the animals’ suffering. You can still sign the initiative “Save, Cruelty-Free Cosmetics”!
Written by Lea Gormsen // 08-11-2021.
Cosmetic testing on animals
The use of animal testing while developing cosmetics is an old trade. There is even found evidence of animal testing for medical procedures back from before 300 BC So the idea of using animals to test a product before using it on humans has deep roots in our society. Maybe animal testing was better excused back then when we did not have the knowledge we have today. But today it is just cruel!
Developing a new cosmetics product often involves testing either an individual ingredient or a finished product on animals. The animals used for cosmetic testing are often rabbits, mice, rats, and monkeys. Cosmetics are usually applied to the body or face to clean or enhance one’s look. It is not even a deadly necessary aspect of a human’s life – like medicine – it is just vanity, which makes it even more unnecessary to use animals for testing it.
Even parts of the cosmetics industry have stated that they have been working for safer alternatives for a long time. The current problem is then to understand the full span of these alternatives across the whole industry and have them accepted by regulatory bodies. It takes time to change an old mindset! Although the EU has already implemented a ban on all testing on animals for cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients under the regulation 1223/2009 in 2013 – there is a way around the regulation. Under the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) REACH Regulation 1907/2006” certain aspects require or enable animal testing.
The initiative was started by two major companies: Dove and The Bodyshop. They have partnered on this initiative with Humane Society International, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals and The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments. The organisers believe that a team like theirs can implement change and collect the needed signatures. An ECI is a mechanism for EU citizens to get involved in EU policymaking. For an initiative to be successful, the organizers need to collect 1 million signatures from citizens of at least 7 different EU countries. If they succeed the European Commission must listen and consider their proposition.
The initiative has four main demands as listed next:
• Immediately implement the existing EU bans on animal testing for cosmetics and the marketing of ingredients tested on animals as intended by legislators to ensure that only non-animal methods are used for the safety assessment of cosmetics ingredients.
• Clarify that the requirement to rely on non-animal data for the safety assessment of cosmetics ingredients must be applied and animal data rejected, regardless of the location and purpose of animal tests conducted after the cut-off periods described in Article 18(2) of the EU Cosmetics Regulation.
• Initiate legislation to strengthen and broaden the cosmetics testing bans to ensure that consumers, workers, and the environment are protected without new tests on animals.
• Devise a robust testing strategy for cosmetics ingredients using only available non-animal assessment strategies so that the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability reflects the overwhelming support for strengthening – rather than weakening – the protection of animals in Europe.
What can you do now?
Now it is up to the citizens to sign the initiative and hopefully ban the use of animals for cosmetic testing. If you want to help the initiative you can do it in different ways:
- Sign the initiative here!
- Share it on your social media platform!
- Make sure you don’t buy cosmetic products that have been tested on animals. Those are often labelled as ‘vegan’ or ‘cruelty free’!