1st September 2022
Irish citizens are leading the way in a historic Europe-wide effort to tackle animal cruelty in testing laboratories. An official EU petition – known as a ‘European Citizens’ Initiative’ (ECI) - has smashed through the target of 1 million signatures to attract the support of over 1.4 million citizens in time for its deadline today, 1st September 2022. Each country has a threshold of numbers to exceed in order to validate the country’s support, and Ireland has achieved its target with around 11,000 supporters, led by the campaigning of the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society (IAVS). The Irish campaign has also enjoyed the support of celebrities such as model Thalia Heffernan, blogger Holly White, Love Island star and presenter Greg O’Shea, and actors Emmett J Scanlan, Ferdia Shaw, and Victoria Smurfit.
Over ten million animals – cats, dogs, rabbits, mice and others – suffer an agonising existence every year in research and testing in laboratories around Europe. Ireland is one of the most voracious and cruellest countries per capita, with 137,318 animals sacrificed in its labs in 2020, driven by the lethal testing of botox on around 100,000 mice. The aim of the petition is to close the enormous loopholes in EU laws which means they are failing to achieve their aims of stopping the testing of cosmetics on animals and replacing outdated animal experimentation methods.
The IAVS proclaimed: “The huge number of signatures sends a very clear signal to Irish and European governments about the strength of feeling there is on this issue. We hope that this time Irish politicians, the European Commission and European Parliament 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 the IAVS and their partners in the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Cruelty Free Europe, PETA and Eurogroup for Animals 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.
The IAVS continued: “We are incredibly proud of this collaborative landmark and look forward to the successful validation of the signatures. The people of Ireland 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. The Government of Ireland should also take note. 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 will now submit the signatures to member state governments for validation before taking 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 over 1.4 million signatures is a strong signal that this ECI will join them.