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Leaping Bunny program boosted by big brand backing in bid to end animal testing

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 23-Aug-2012
Last updated on 23-Aug-2012 at 12:12 GMT

The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ Leaping Bunny program has received backing from cosmetics players and can benefit further from big brand backing in its bid to end animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

The Leaping Bunny is a universal symbol reserved for brands and products strictly not tested on animals at any time during their preparation.

Earlier this year, The Body Shop partnered with Cruelty Free International (CFI) to launch its first global pledge campaign to end animal testing in cosmetics.

According to CFI, over 80 per cent of countries across the world continue to allow animal testing for cosmetics despite the existence of safe and humane alternatives.

Call for ‘cruelty-free’

The idea behind the campaign is to use the pledges to call on governments and regulators around the world to recognise that ‘cruelty free’ is best for both business and ethics and therefore introduce a ban on animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients.

CFI welcomed the support from the L’Oréal-owned company, in what it terms as the largest and most ambitious global campaign to end animal testing as it seeks to connect with The Body Shop’s customers.

Nue Products, which is a maker of an anti-ageing system and is part of the Leaping Bunny program responded to the Body Shop’s significant contribution stating that sometimes it takes a major brand to raise significant awareness.

In a press statement, Nue Products commented on the Cruelty Free International Initiative, "This organisation has taken a huge leap towards an end to worldwide animal testing. We stand by and applaud their efforts to this end."

Industry hot topic

Animal testing is an industry hot topic at present, particularly ahead of the European Commission’s proposed marketing ban which is due in 2013.

There is no existing global ban on cruelty-free cosmetic testing that prevents animal experimentation, meaning in some regions there is no legal requirement that prevents manufacturers of cosmetic products from using animals in their testing processes.

Many companies, from suppliers to manufacturers, have already made an effort to abstain from animal testing.

CCIC representatives conduct regular and thorough inspections of companies in order to allow them to maintain their Leaping Bunny certification. The Cruelty Free International initiative is making an additional effort to raise awareness and present petitions to create a national and global ban on animal testing.

Making its mark

Cosmetics maker Urban Decay, earlier this month, made the decision to back out of its plan to sell its products in China until animal testing alternatives are in place  , having previously announced it was going to enter the market despite acknowledging that it was not going to be a popular decision with some of its loyal customers.

On revealing its plan, the brand came under fire primarily due to its conflicting animal testing policy, and Sue Leary of the CCIC’s Leaping Bunny Program stated that feedback from consumers is what swayed the company’s decision to back out.

Urban Decay explained that: “While several factors were important in reaching this decision, ultimately we did not feel we could comply with current regulations in China and remain true to our core principles.”

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