LUSH Fights Animal Testing, Launches Worldwide Campaign

UK-based cosmetics company LUSH has gone on the offensive against animal testing. The self-proclaimed “cruelty-free” company (which does not imply vegan, by the way) is currently using the front page of their website to advocate for an end to cosmetic animal testing in the UK, showcasing the website, which claims:

Through the 80s and 90s there was a massive campaign by the public, demanding an end to the use of animals in cosmetics testing. In response to this, the EU Parliament finally passed legislation in 1993 banning the testing of cosmetics on animals. It is called The Cosmetics Directive. It gave industry 5 years to prepare, with a start date of 1st January 1998. The public were overjoyed that their campaign had achieved its goal. But, largely unknown to the public, this legislation has never been fully implemented. Some of the biggest players in the cosmetics industry have lobbied to have implementation of the legislation delayed again and again. Each time the implementation date came close, another delay was applied for and granted. So instead of the full protection of the law, animals have had to have only partial implementation of the Cosmetics Directive for the last 20 years. The last time the cosmetics companies requested a delay, they were granted an extension until 2013. Now that this date is approaching, another delay of 10 years has been requested and the European Parliament is currently considering this.

While the company may not be totally vegan (a few of their products contain honeybee by-products such as honey or beeswax), they do take strides to source ethical ingredients, and clearly label products which are vegan (most are). They even released “None Of Your Beeswax” – a lip balm for vegans frustrated that they can’t find one without beeswax (which, as a vegan, I can sympathize with). LUSH’s section on animal testing is fairly comprehensive, explaining why they don’t test on animals, and how they find alternatives. But I was really impressed with their latest campaign, where a social sculpture student (and vegan!) Jacquline Traide subjected her self to real live “animal testing” in front of LUSH’s London store front:

 A graphic depiction, but sorely needed. What impresses me about this is that LUSH seemingly feels like they won’t lose many customers over this, and that ethically, this is an important issue. Far beyond Coke saying “hey, recycle your cans,” this would be akin to Hershey’s bringing to light the slavery required for chocolate production, and not just claiming to source better stuff, but actively campaigning. We expect this from groups like PETA or Greenpeace, but from a cosmetic company? It shows that somebody at LUSH seems to care, and that it’s about more than just pure profit. In addition, LUSH attempts to use minimal packaging, which I appreciate from a green perspective.

You can sign the petition against European Union animal testing here (which should send reverberation world wide), or for action on this side of the pond, please visit the National Anti-Vivisection Society’s website.

For more pictures and coverage, see this Daily Mail article. LUSH published a rebuttal to those who thought the stunt was outlandish or sexist, entitled “Power, oppression, and abuse: performing animal tests” – it’s an excellent read.