EU Citizens Demand an End to Animal Experimentation

EU Citizens Demand an End to Animal Experimentation

Precedent-Setting European Citizens’ Initiative Reaches Over 1.4 Million Signatures

London – For a precedent-setting second time, over 1.4 million people across the European Union have said loudly and clearly that animal testing must end. This follows a 12-month campaign by PETA entities and more than 100 European animal protection groups, which included a host of poignant celeb-fronted video pleas, like this powerful video about animals in laboratories featuring Irish celebrities Victoria Smurfit, Greg O’Shea, Ferdia Shaw, and others. Hundreds of celebrities from all over Europe supported and shared the campaign, including Sir Paul McCartney, Finnish heavy metal band Lordi, Italian singer Red Canzian, French journalist Hugo Clément, and actor Evanna Lynch, to name only a few.

Over 10 million animals every year – including cats, dogs, rabbits, and mice – endure an agonising existence in laboratories all over 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 phase out all experiments on animals.

The deadline for collecting signatures for the “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics” European citizens’ initiative (ECI) has passed, and over 1.4 million people have signed – an unprecedented milestone. This is the second ECI on this issue that has surpassed 1 million signatures, after “Stop Vivisection” in 2015. To date, only six out of a total of 90 ECIs have been successful, so collecting this many signatures sends a strong signal that the public is opposed to animal testing.

“This huge number of signatures and the fact that this is the second time citizens have said no to animal testing must surely make clear to EU lawmakers the strength of feeling there is on this issue,” says PETA Science Policy Manager Dr Julia Baines. “We urge the European Commission, members of the European Parliament, and national governments to take action to end cosmetics testing on animals once and for all and to initiate an ambitious plan to consign all experiments on animals to the history books, where they belong.”

The “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics” ECI was launched in August 2021 by PETA entities alongside Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, and HSI Europe. It’s been 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 organisers of the ECI now have six months to submit signatures to member state authorities for validation before they can take it to the European Commission and European Parliament for action.

PETA UK – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]


Notes for editors:

For more information on European citizens’ initiatives (ECIs), please see this page.

The “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics” ECI has brought together a network of NGOs across Europe. This is the first time in history that this number of European organisations has come together for animals in laboratories.

An ECI is an official EU mechanism allowing citizens to help shape legislation – a unique tool for change. Each signature goes through a verification process. After receiving the verified signatures, the European Commission will carefully examine the initiative. Within six months after receiving the initiative, the following will happen:

  • Commission representatives will meet with the organisers so they can explain in detail the issues raised in their initiative
  • The initiative will have a full plenary hearing in the European Parliament followed by a possible vote
  • The Commission will release a formal response detailing what, if any, action it will propose in response to the ECI and the reasons behind its decision