The performance RECITE NE TESTIRANJU”: We need to become more conscious consumers

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On Friday, 21.07.2023. VivaBiH activists took to the streets of Sarajevo and in front of the Eternal Fire gave a voice to the voiceless.

The street performance called “RECITE NE TESTIRANJU” (eng. „Say no to testing“) which was held in the afternoon attracted a lot of attention from passers-by.

With this performance, we wanted to draw attention to the suffering and killing of animals that take place in laboratories around the world.

Symbolically, 18 years ago on that very day, 21.07.2005 in the neighboring country of Croatia, thanks to the “Prijatelji životinja” association, beagles were saved from experiments at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine! The anniversary of the liberation of beagles began to be marked as the Day against Animal Experiments.

Beagles in Croatia were saved, but many animals continue to suffer and die in the world’s laboratories due to senseless and cruel practices.

According to data from 2015, at least 192.1 million animals are used for conducting experiments and tests. Since only a small fraction of countries collect and publish data on the use of animals for testing and research, the number is much higher!

A large number of animal species are used, including mice, rats, frogs, rabbits, hamsters, fish, birds, cats, dogs, farm animals (pigs, cows, sheep, horses…), non-human primates (monkeys and in some countries chimpanzees).

Experiments are performed on live animals for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs and testing the safety of consumer and industrial products such as cosmetics, household cleaners, food additives, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals and agrochemicals.

All procedures cause physical as well as psychological stress and suffering to animals. Most animals are killed at the end of the experiment or reused in subsequent tests.


In the European Union, the sale of cosmetic products tested on animals has been prohibited since March 2013. This banned the import and sale of cosmetic products and ingredients tested on animals in EU countries, and anyone who wants to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world.

Over the years, there have been more bans. The first ban came in 2004, which prohibited the testing of finished cosmetic products on animals. Then in 2009, a ban on testing ingredients used in cosmetic products was introduced.

Companies must test their chemicals to make sure they are safe by using alternative methods. Unfortunately, testing on animals that are considered carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction is still allowed. Within the European Union, more than 12 million animals are used every year, and France, Germany and the United Kingdom are the three countries that use animals the most.

In 2021, Parliament adopted a resolution calling for an EU action plan to end the use of animals in research and testing.

Despite growing public concern and the increasing availability of more humane and human-relevant non-animal methods, including tests on artificial human epidermis, computer models… animals continue to suffer, as over 80% of countries in the world, China being the first, still allow cosmetics to be tested on them.

It is estimated that between 100,000 and 300,000 animals are tested for cosmetics in China each year. During cosmetics testing, chemicals are dripped into animals’ eyes, smeared on their skin, or force-fed huge, lethal doses. Such tests cause animal suffering and are unreliable in predicting chemical reactions in humans.

However, as of 2014, animal testing of makeup, perfume, and skin, hair, and nail care products produced and sold in China is not legally required.

Although China has made small progress in the ethical treatment of animals and the production of safer cosmetics, it still has mandatory animal testing of imported cosmetic products, as well as imported and cosmetic products manufactured in China that are intended for special use (hair dyes, permanent wave products, hair growth products, deodorants, sunscreens, skin whitening creams and other products that have a special purpose indicated on the label). So a very long list of products that are still tested on animals!


As always, we held conversations with our fellow citizens and exchanged various information related to animal testing. Many were shocked by the knowledge of cruel practices that happen to animals in laboratories, and most importantly, they showed empathy and a desire to reduce suffering, especially when they realized that it was possible by stopping supporting companies that perform such tests.

We are glad that our performance managed to open the eyes of many of our fellow citizens and encourage them to choose vegan and cruelty-free products!

On this occasion, we invite as many citizens as possible to support companies whose products and their ingredients are not tested on animals and are vegan. The compassionate choice of each individual directly affects the reduction of animal suffering and the introduction of ethical principles into production.

How do you know a product is vegan and/or cruelty-free?

Products that are certified cruelty-free and/or vegan receive a seal that is placed on the packaging. This seal confirms that the company has gone through the proper channels to prove that they are vegan/cruelty-free, which means that any product with the seal is legal.

“Vegan” and “cruelty-free” are two separate labels. The difference between a vegan product and a cruelty-free product comes down to ingredients and testing. Vegan products do not contain ingredients of animal origin, while cruelty-free products are not tested on animals.

There is a long way to go for those who want to contribute to a society where suffering will be minimized. But the change in consumer habits in the past twenty years has shown two things — people are waking up and starting to decide independently what they buy, not falling for advertisements so easily.

Consumer influence may be the only truly successful way to achieve change. By putting pressure on manufacturers, by boycotting undesirable products, we are actually provoking the emergence of a new way of producing cosmetics, the kind we want — which does not cause suffering. If we ask for it, we will get it. When products tested on animals start to stay longer on store shelves and sales start to fall, companies will reorient their activities. Because, let’s not forget, they are only there for the money. And the money comes from us!


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