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EU Set to Ban Animal Testing for Cosmetics Forever

LONDON, February 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Campaign pioneers The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International celebrate after 20 years of activism

After over 20 years of campaigning, ethical beauty retailer The Body Shop and non-profit organisation Cruelty Free International are finally celebrating the end to animal testing for cosmetics in Europe with the anticipated announcement that the import and sale of animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients is to be banned in the EU on 11th March 2013.

This ground breaking victory means that from 11th March onwards, anyone who wishes to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world. The ban affects all cosmetics including toiletries and beauty products from soap to toothpaste. The Body Shop is one of the few beauty brands who will not be affected by the ban, having always been Against Animal Testing.

The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International are launching a range of special commemorative activities in the countdown to 11th March, sparked by personal confirmation from Commissioner Tonio Borg that the ban is due to go ahead as proposed.  Mr Borg wrote in a recent letter to the animal testing campaigners, "I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban."

The proposed ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free beauty and in particular to countries such as China, who still demand animal testing for cosmetics, to also respond and ban testing on animals.

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: "This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning.  Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead."

Paul McGreevy, International Values Director at The Body Shop paid tribute to customers who have supported the company's campaign against animal testing in cosmetics for many years and said: "This great achievement in Europe is only the closure of one chapter. The future of beauty must be cruelty free."

In 1991, the BUAV (founder of Cruelty Free International) established a European coalition of leading animal protection organisations across Europe (ECEAE) with the objective to end the use of animal testing for cosmetics. This set in motion a high-profile public and political campaign across Europe spanning over 20 years.  In 1993, The Body Shop, the first beauty company to take action on animal testing for cosmetics, supported   the campaign by enlisting the support of its consumers across Europe. Three years later in 1996, Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the ECEAE and MEPs in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission.

In 2012, the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first global organisation dedicated to ending cosmetics animal testing worldwide. The Body Shop together with Cruelty Free International launched a new international campaign which has so far resulted in customers from 55 countries signing a global pledge supporting an end to animal testing for cosmetics forever.

Notes to editors:

The EU ban on the import and sale of animal tested products has been planned since 2009, however many beauty companies were expecting the ban to be delayed or derogated.  The new European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, confirmed in a recent letter that the ban is to remain in place.

"I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban. This decision also means that we need to step up our efforts in the development, validation and acceptance of alternative methods as well as in the international recognition of these methods. I know that ECEAE has been a valuable and knowledgeable partner in these areas and I count on your future support."

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive Michelle Thew is meeting with Commissioner Tonio Borg on Wednesday 30th January on behalf of the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) to discuss the implementation of the ban.

Banning animal testing in the EU: a long, slow road to victory

1898 - The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) was founded to campaign against all forms of animal testing

1973 - The BUAV first brought the issue of cosmetics testing on animals to public attention

1990 - The BUAV established the European Coalition to End Cosmetics Tests on Animals (now the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments - ECEAE) an alliance of leading European animal organisations formed for the purpose of ending animal tests for cosmetics in the EU

1991 - The BUAV and ECEAE organise an international march and rally in Brussels and an iconic, larger than life 'laboratory rabbit' Vanity tours countries across Europe to urge MEPs to vote to end animal tests for cosmetics

1993 - The Body Shop embarks upon a European-wide campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics in the EU

1996 - Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the ECEAE, MEPs and Chrissie Hynde in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission to end animal testing for cosmetics

2004 - A ban on animal testing of finished cosmetic products (but not ingredients) was imposed in Europe.    

2009 - Testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals anywhere in the EU is made illegal, as was selling or importing into the EU any animal tested ingredients to be used in cosmetics. However, three animal tests were made exempt in order to allow non-animal tests to be validated.

2011 - The BUAV and its European partners launch the No Cruel Cosmetics campaign to call for the import and sales ban to be implemented in 2013 as planned without delay or derogation.

2012 - The Body Shop supports the launch of Cruelty Free International by the BUAV. Together, they campaign for a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

11th March 2013 - a complete ban on animal testing for cosmetics is implemented in the EU

For further information, interviews, images and quotes, please contact the Cruelty Free International media office:

[email protected]  Tel: +44 (0) 7850 510 955/+44 (0) 207 619 6978

About The Body Shop

The Body Shop International plc is the original, naturally-inspired and ethical beauty brand, with over 2,700 stores in over 60 markets worldwide. The Body Shop seeks out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe to deliver products bursting with effectiveness, to enhance your natural beauty. By striving to use the planet's resources wisely, The Body Shop searches for outstanding natural materials and ingredients from across the globe to include in its range of products. The Body Shop is proud to have been the first beauty brand to have brought the benefits of fair trade to the beauty industry through its own unique Community Fair Trade programme, to have introduced 100% recycled packaging, and to raise funds and awareness on key issues of the day, including the sex trafficking of the most vulnerable in our society, children and young people.

The Body Shop has received the recognition of organisations including the British RSPCA, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, having been proudly awarded the prestigious RSPCA 'Lifetime Achievement Award 2009', "in recognition of the significant contribution the company has made in helping to achieve a ban on animal testing and in particular the work carried out by its late founder Dame Anita Roddick." In addition The Body Shop is pleased its products continue to win illustrious awards and accolades internationally. The brand continues to be cited as an 'ethical' and 'green brand'.

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