Body Shop in protest

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The Independent Online
The Body Shop will tomorrow launch a fresh attack on its competitors in the cosmetics industry by asking its customers to sign a massive petition backing a Europe-wide ban on animal testing.

The company plans to collect six million names from customers at its 750 shops across Europe. Animal testing "is morally wrong and totally unnecessary," said founder Anita Roddick.

The petition will be presented to Jacques Santer, president of the European Commission, in November. Activists fear Mr Santer is about to postpone enforcement of the ban, scheduled to take effect in January.

Ms Roddick will kick off the campaign - supported by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the International Fund for Animal Welfare - by hand-delivering a letter to the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, the main industry lobby group, tomorrow.

She will also reveal a new MORI poll, which is expected to reveal that almost three-quarters of UK residents support a ban on animal testing.

Ms Roddick said new laws are necessary because some cosmetics companies are misleading their customers. While they claim their products have not been tested on animals, they do not vouch for tests on ingredients made by their suppliers.

Body Shop relies on ingredients with a historical safety record, albeit often based on animal tests, and those that have been subjected to modern alternatives such as the Eytex/Irritection test. Eytex, a test-tube method of checking for eye irritation, is designed to replace the Draize test in which substances are dripped into rabbits' eyes.

Opponents of a ban say they will use non-animal tests when they compare favourably on both accuracy and price. They fear that a blanket ban would stifle product development.