current affairs

Why I’m celebrating the EU’s animal cruelty ban

Finally, some good news for animals and the cruelty free conscious few people left in this country! As of March 11 testing on animals is banned throughout the EU. Hooray!

The UK originally banned animal testing for cosmetic purposes in 1998 and as of March 11, all members of the European Union enforced a ban on the sale of animal-tested beauty products. Some of the UK’s most popular brands are famously cruelty free such as Lush, The Body Shop and Superdrug. All of these brands proudly display the leaping bunny symbol on their products—a symbol internationally recognised to represent cruelty free brands.

And whilst many people may simply not care about whether their choice of products are cruelty free or not, many, including myself, will be over the moon about this long awaited news. 

In 2012 many companies moved their production to China, a country where, by law, all cosmetics must be tested on animals before they can be solved. There are 700 million women in China—a huge market for the beauty industry—and it is a country that has been ignored for many years because of its laws, but why did so many companies turn their backs on their morals in the name of making more money?

Ricky Gervais has spoken in support of Humane Society International’s “Be Cruelty Free” campaign which aims to halt cosmetics animal testing around the world. “Like me, most people will be shocked to learn that testing cosmetics on animals is often still a legal requirement in China,” Gervais said. “By law, rabbits must have cosmetic chemicals dripped in their eyes or spread over their sensitive skin, causing sores and bleeding. It makes me really angry that this is still going on, and it makes me particularly angry that some previously cruelty-free companies are abandoning their principles and returning to animal testing in order to profit from the Chinese market.”

Perhaps the biggest issue of all is why do people no longer seem to care? If the companies no longer care then why should the customers? When The Body Shop launched in the UK in 1976 by Anita Roddick, people took a serious interest in where their products were coming from and how they were being made, but in recent years this interest seems to have died out even though the problem, until today,  was still as apparent as ever.

However, not all companies completely abandoned their principles for profit. International brand Urban Decay was known for being cruelty free and being very open about their feelings towards animal testing, so when they made the decision to move into China last year, make up lovers were left in disbelief. Thankfully, before finalisations were put in place, Urban Decay retracted from China and regained its leaping bunny badge after protests from animal welfare groups and the brands consumers.

Gervais also addressed this at the Humane Society International’s “Be Cruelty Free” campaign. “I say congratulations to Urban Decay, a massive cosmetics brand that recently made a very public U-turn when it realised its plans to start selling in China would have meant unnecessary suffering for hundreds of animals,” Gervais said. “In deciding against selling in China, Urban Decay sent a very powerful message to the rest of the industry – you don’t have to sell your soul in order to be a globally successful cosmetics brand.”

Even with numerous celebrities raising awareness of the companies selling out to China, people still seem worryingly blasé about the production of the products they are using. A country once in awe of The Body Shop and it’s cruelty-free all natural products has now given up caring with very few people actually being aware of the new laws now in place across the EU, never mind rejoicing! 

However, I for one will be celebrating this new move and will hopefully soon be celebrating the ban of animals for scientific reasons, too!

What do you think of the announcement of the EU? Do you think more should be done for the protection of animals? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.