Kerry Postlewhite of Cruelty Free International calls on all cosmetics firms to join The Body Shop in supporting its campaign

Just 15 months ago, Cruelty Free International and our campaign partner The Body Shop embarked on an incredibly ambitious and exciting project to finally bring the use of animals in cosmetics testing to an end everywhere and forever.

In that short period of time, we amassed a mind-blowing 8.3 million signatures from concerned citizen-consumers from every corner of the globe. And earlier this month, on World Animal Day, 4 October, we brought those voices with us to the United Nations in New York to celebrate a partnership of consumers, civil society and business acting together for good, and to open a dialogue with the world’s decision-makers. It was a fantastic day and a celebration of what cooperation for good can achieve. Although we still have a way to go, we’re confident that with the continued support of consumers and the commitment from more and more industry, we can do it.

Our goals are realistic ones that are actually good for business ethics as well as for the bottom line

Cruelty Free International is the leading organization working worldwide to create a world where no one wants to or believes that we should experiment on animals. Since the 1980s we have been working with The Body Shop and other Leaping Bunny companies to end the use of animals in safety testing for cosmetics. Together we were instrumental in getting a ban in the European Union and since then have continued to work in partnership in different countries and now internationally.

As a non-governmental campaigning organization, it’s great for us to be able to work so closely with an ethical business like The Body Shop that has a presence on so many high streets around the world. In that way, we can take the message about animal testing in cosmetics to people and places we might not otherwise be able to reach. We can also demonstrate that our goals are actually good for business ethics as well as for the bottom line. In the words of the UN Global Compact, responsible business should be a force for good, helping to build prosperous and thriving societies.

'Not tested on animals' labels, such as CFI's Leaping Bunny, sway consumer choices. (Credit: CFI)

People have been testing cosmetics products on animals since the Second World War. Since then, science has moved on and public opinion has changed. Yet testing continues. Lots of consumers are shocked to hear that animal testing still happens in cosmetics, and when they hear that it does – and that we estimate that around half a million animals a year continue to suffer and die for beauty – they want to act, and they want the world to act, too.

We know that today’s consumers are looking for brands and products with strong ethical profiles and that includes a commitment to non-animal testing. To market a cosmetics product, a company must demonstrate its safety, but this can now be done effectively and reliably with combinations of existing ingredients and superior non-animal methods, which are scientifically more valid and relevant to humans.

People are demanding cruelty free cosmetics. It’s time that the industry and its regulators heard what people are saying

Increasing awareness of the pain, suffering and death inflicted upon animals for product testing has led the public to reject the idea that testing on animals is justifiable for cosmetics. A 2015 Nielsen survey found the “not tested on animals” claim on packaging to matter more to consumers than any other.

The 8.3 million people who have joined us in our fight to end animal testing shows how business and civil society can harness consumer voices to support responsible production and consumption.

Campaigners at the UN on October 4th, World Animal Day. (Credit: PRNewsfoto/CFI,The Body Shop)

People are demanding cruelty free cosmetics because they understand that it isn’t possible to look or feel beautiful if animals must suffer for it. It’s time that the industry and its regulators as well as governments understand that animal testing in cosmetics is cruel, unnecessary and outdated.

And it’s time for all companies in the sector to join The Body Shop in publicly acknowledging the importance of replacing animals with non-animal alternatives in product and ingredient safety testing; to commit to providing consumer information on animal testing; to join us in campaigning for an international agreement that would end the use of animal tests for cosmetics and continue the development and international validation of non-animal methods; and to use non-animal methods for testing cosmetics as a proxy indicator in their local sustainability frameworks.

In that way we really can show consumers that their decisions do lead to genuine and sustainable change.

Kerry Postlewhite is Director of Public Affairs at Cruelty Free International

Main picture credit: The Body Shop
CFI  The Body Shop  UN Global Compact  Leaping Bunny  animal testing 

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