For a record-breaking second time, over one million people across the European Union have said loudly and clearly that animal testing must end.
The aim of banning animal testing and putting an end to vivisection in the cosmetics sector is a global movement that gains momentum each year.
Over ten million animals – cats, dogs, rabbits, mice and others – suffer an agonising existence every year in research and testing in laboratories around Europe. Now European citizens are demanding an end to the cruel use of animals in cosmetics and chemicals tests, as well as an ambitious plan to bring all experiments on animals to an end.
As the deadline for collecting signatures for the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) passed at 23h59 on Wednesday 31 August, 1,413,383 had signed. An unprecedented milestone, this is the second ECI on this issue that has surpassed the one million signature mark. The first was Stop Vivisection in 2015.
Kerry Postlewhite, Director of Public Affairs, Cruelty Free Europe, said: "Although we now have to wait several months to see if our ECI is validated by EU member states, the huge number of signatures, and the fact that this is the second time citizens have said no to animal testing, must surely underline to Europe's lawmakers the strength of feeling there is on this issue.
"We hope that this time the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and national governments take heed and act at once to end the testing on animals of ingredients used in cosmetics. We also need an ambitious and urgent plan to consign all other experiments on animals to the history books where they belong."
The Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics/End Animal Testing ECI was launched in August 2021 by animal protection organisations Cruelty Free Europe, PETA, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and HSI Europe, supported by global beauty and personal care companies, The Body Shop and Dove, and actively promoted by a coalition of groups and campaigners from every corner of Europe.
Postlewhite continued: "We are incredibly proud of this collaborative landmark and look forward to successful validation of the signatures. The people of Europe have made the task for the European Commission clear: it must come forward with substantive legislative proposals to phase out animal experiments and end the suffering of millions of animals in laboratories in Europe. We demand change in testing and research. It is high time for Europe to evolve past cruel and outdated animal testing."
The organisers of the initiative now have three months to submit signatures to member state competent authorities for validation before they can take it to the European Commission and Parliament for action. To date, only six ECIs out of a total of 90 that have been registered have successfully completed this validation stage. To have attracted 1,413,383 signatures is a strong signal that this ECI could join them.