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Cruelty Free International and The Body Shop – the fight continues five decades on

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Body Shop and CFI at the United Nations

Help us stop animals dying in the name of beauty

Our global partnership with The Body Shop, to end animal testing for cosmetics, stretches back five decades – but as we marked the tenth anniversary of the European Union law preventing the sale of all cosmetics products tested on animals on Saturday 11 March, thousands of animals continue to suffer and die in the name of beauty.

The partnership, which began in 1986, has led campaigns from Canada to Japan via the whole of Europe and beyond, and in 2018 delivered an 8.3-million-signature petition to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, urging a global commitment to end the practice.

The Body Shop was the first international beauty brand to campaign against animal testing in cosmetics, and we the first worldwide non-profit organisation dedicated to ending cosmetic product and ingredient testing on animals.

Our partnership began with the ‘Save The Whale’ campaign, to replace the use of sperm whale oil in cosmetic products with jojoba oil. It continued in 1989 with the launch of the ‘Against Animal Testing’ initiative, and joint campaigning which led to the United Kingdom’s ban on animal testing in cosmetic products and ingredients in 1998 – the first country to introduce such a ban.

Bans in the European Union followed in 2004, 2009 and 2013, which, respectively, banned the testing of finished cosmetic products on animals, the testing of ingredients on animals, and finally the sale and import of any cosmetics product tested on animals. Progress has since rolled around the globe with many countries worldwide moving to end the use of animals to test cosmetics.

Despite huge public support for the bans, cruel animal tests are still required by European authorities, including on ingredients used solely in cosmetics products such as make-up, shampoo, moisturiser, soap, perfume and toothpaste. Together with our partners in Europe, our successful European Citizens Initiative responded to these challenges in 2022 gathering over 1.2 million signatures to demonstrate to the European Commission and Parliament the continued strength of feeling on this issue. A hearing in the European Parliament should follow this Spring.

The UK ban is also under threat, after the Home Office admitted in August 2021 that it once again allows animal testing for cosmetics in the UK. Tests are required even where chemicals are used exclusively as cosmetics ingredients, a decision which is currently the subject of a Judicial Review.

Our Chief Executive, Michelle Thew, said: “The Body Shop and ourselves have been at the forefront of the campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics for almost 40 years. We have shown throughout that time that animal testing is entirely outdated and unnecessary, with the development and increased availability of non-animal testing methods.

“We are proud of our achievements, and the real progress that we have made together thanks to our shared vision and commitment, but it is shocking that we are still having to fight on behalf of animals in laboratories a decade on from the European Union ban. Even more distressing is the fact that more and more animal testing is being required by regulators for ingredients in cosmetics, against the wishes of European consumers and cosmetics brands. We are also working to protect the UK ban, through a Judicial Review from which we hope to receive a ruling in the next few weeks. The fight continues to end this needless suffering.”

Christopher Davis, International Sustainability, Activism and Communications Director for The Body Shop, said: “Partnerships can change the world and we are honoured to have worked hand in hand with CFI and, with our customers, take the campaign to protect the rights of animals who have no voice for nearly four decades. The ban against animal testing in the cosmetics industry must be maintained and protected and our commitment to the cause is as true today as it was in the 1980’s when Anita Roddick first spoke out against this terrible and unnecessary practice.”


If you are in the UK, you can support our Target Zero campaign, to add your voice to our call for an end to animal testing in the UK. Click here to find out how to post your own Target Zero picture on social media – feel free to add a superhero cape and please tag us using #IAmATargetZeroHero.

You can also help us build on this successful ECI by emailing the European Commission to make sure that they listen to our call for an end to animal testing. Use our simple tool to email the Commission. Together, we can help achieve a Europe in which no animals suffer in laboratories.