Move follows similar ban in Israel
From March 11 the sale of cosmetics which have been tested on animals will be banned in the European Union.
The move, which follows that of Israel’s ban imposed as of New Year’s Day this year, will see all toiletries, from high-end designer make-up to own brand toothpaste, being affected.
Anyone wanting to sell cosmetics in the EU must ensure that none of the ingredients have been tested on animals anywhere in the world.
The ban was proposed in 2009 but many companies expected it to be delayed by the EU Commission and Parliament.
EU health commissioner Tonio Borg wrote in an open letter to anti-animal testing campaigners that efforts must be ramped up to find alternative methods for testing products.
The ruling presents a strong distinction between the EU and China, one of the largest beauty markets in the world. According to PETA, animal testing in China is a legal requirement before products can be brought to market.
The ban has been seen as a great victory for campaigners Cruelty Free International and the Body Shop, who have spent 20 years fighting for animal testing to be made illegal.