Lush Cosmetics Stage Controversial Animal Rights Protest


Protests are a great (yet often dangerous) way to get a point across to someone, or a group of people, and it can also be the very thing that brings about drastic change. Just look at how all the Egyptian protests have managed to force government change over the past four years!

But there are other types of protests and campaigns which are planned in advance and have a strategic end. We’re talking about what Lush cosmetics have just done in London. The UK brand, in conjunction with The Humane Society has been vehemently advocating animal rights laws for a long time, and they aren’t about to give up on their fight any time soon.

They staged a protest in the window display area of one of their busiest stores in Regents St, London, and it attracted a lot of international media. This was also their first global identical campaign which is being copied in over 800 stores worldwide, in 49 countries.

Performance artist Jacqueline Trade was dressed in a flesh-colored body suit, and was led by a rope tied around her neck to the window display by Oliver Cronk who was dressed in surgical garb. What happened over the course of 10 hours was Jacqueline being subjected to the same types of torture that animals endure when they are used as test subjects.

For the record, Jacqueline, who is a social sculptures student at Oxford University, is a proud vegan and is passionate about animal rights. She also volunteered her body and her time for this campaign.

She was force fed, had electrodes attached to hear head, her hair was shaved off, various creams and lotions were applied to her face, her mouth was held open by a crude metal clamp, and her eyes doused with some form of liquid which caused her great discomfort.

The media gathered alongside shocked bypassers who were appalled at the treatment of this young woman, who at the end of the staged protest was thrown onto a garbage heap outside the store with a trash bag over her head, the exact same way a dead animal being tested on would be discarded.

It was certainly not for the faint-hearted, but it sent a powerful message.


“The objective of Lush is to take animals out of cosmetic testing first in Europe and then across the world,” said Lush Campaign director Tamsin Omond.

She says millions of animals are being killed to test cosmetics, and the data can be unreliable anyway, so it needs to stop.

“The Cosmetics Directive is a really positive piece of legislation for animals. It was passed in 1993, at the request of 20 years of campaigning by the public in Britain and across Europe, and it said no animal could be tested on for cosmetics,” said Hilary Jones, Lush Ethics Director.

“But unfortunately, the cosmetics industry lobbied behind the scenes after the legislation got passed, and they were granted a delay and more. So far it’s been 20 years, and they’re currently asking for another 10 years. So what we’ve been doing is getting petitions signed so that customers can put their signatures on something that tells the EU parliament enough is enough,” she continued.

These are some pretty awful facts which the general public may not be aware of, and this is why a controversial performance piece like this can be effective.

In fact most of the onlookers ended up signing the petition because they were educated about an issue that should not be happening in 2014! Lush cosmetics have never tested on animals, and never will. If they can do it, why can’t other major brands follow suit?


This campaign had become the largest ever global campaign to end animal testing in cosmetics. Lush wants to remind people that this inhumane act is still being done today, but the power of the people can in fact force change in governments.

While it was a great place to stage the act, testing on animals is actually banned in the UK, which has the strictest animal welfare provisions regarding the use of animals for scientific purposes anywhere in Europe. While it’s illegal to test on animals in Britain, it is still legal to sell products which have been tested on animals in others countries such as the USA and Canada. In China, animal testing is legal requirement. Crazy!

Dr. Chris Flower, director general of the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumeries Association in the UK told the Daily Mail:

“It has been established by the European Commission’s scientific expert committee that the safety of a finished product can be determined by knowledge of its ingredients. Testing the product on animals is not necessary.”

It should be food for thought for us all: do we know what products we are buying and how they came about? Do we even care? We see commercials and news bulletins on TV all the time about animals being mistreated by their owners, and we are outraged. Yet this is in fact happening at a rate our news stations cannot keep up with.

Signing the petition is a start, you can do this by going to Lush’s Fight Animal Testing landing page which is filled with more details information, resources and videos to enlighten you about this issue.

Watch the video from the London store below:


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