Anita Roddick, late founder of The Body Shop.
The end is nigh—for animal testing, that is. Starting March 11, the European Union will ban the import and sale of new cosmetic products that were either tested on animals or contain ingredients that were tested on animals. The ban, which has been in the works since 2009, is the result of decades of campaigning from animal-rights proponents, including Anita Roddick, the late founder of The Body Shop, who joined members of the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments in 1996 to present the European Commission with a petition containing 4 million signatures. The new regulations will apply to all personal-care products and toiletries, no matter how luxury or quotidian, from wrinkle cream to toothpaste.
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“This decision…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,” wrote EU health commissioner Tonio Borg.
The Body Shop and Cruelty-Free International will hold a range of commemorative events in the countdown to March 11.
This “historic event,” say animal activists, sends a strong message in support of cruelty-free beauty, particularly in countries such as China, which still demand animal testing for cosmetics. “This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning,” says Michelle Thew, chief executive of Cruelty-Free International, a global nonprofit founded by veteran animal-rights group BUAV. “Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead.”
To celebrate, The Body Shop and Cruelty-Free International will hold a range of commemorative events in the countdown to March 11. Don’t expect campaigners to rest on their laurels for long, however. “This great achievement in Europe is only the closure of one chapter,” says Paul McGreevy, international values director at The Body Shop. “The future of beauty must be cruelty-free.”