The sudden loss of Dame Anita Roddick, who pioneered the sale of cruelty-free beauty products in her Body Shop stores in the ’70s—declaring in letters a foot high, ‘against animal tests’—has left us a bit shaken at the PETA offices today.
From the opening of her first Body Shop store in Brighton in 1974 to her decision last year to enter into a partnership with L’Oreal in order to show that company how easy it is to run a successful business without supporting unethical practices like animal experimentation, Anita Roddick never once compromised her stated goal of “putting idealism back on the agenda” or stopped for one moment in her quest to show by example that kindness not only has a role in a successful business but that it can be its driving force.
It is not an overstatement to say that Anita Roddick ushered animal rights into the mainstream with her work to show the strong demand for products not tested on animals. She was a courageous, progressive pioneer, who risked her business to be the first corporation to announce her staunch support for a ban on cosmetics and toiletries tests on animals. She will take her place in history as a woman who helped to bring a sense of social justice and ethical practices into the business world, but we will always remember her as a deeply compassionate soul who was a true friend to animals.
She will be greatly missed, and not the least by our Senior VP, Dan Mathews, for whom she once cooked a vegan breakfast! We are all profoundly indebted to the great strides she took to make the world a better place for humans and animals alike.