LONDON, January 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Campaign pioneersThe Body Shop and Cruelty Free International celebrate after 20 years of activism After over 20 years of campaigning, ethical beauty retailer The Body Shop and non-profit organisation Cruelty Free International are finally celebrating the end to animal testing for cosmetics in Europe with the anticipated announcement that the import and sale of animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients is to be banned in the EU on 11 thMarch 2013. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130130/591114 ) This ground breaking victory means that from 11 th March onwards, anyone who wishes to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world. The ban affects all cosmetics including toiletries and beauty products from soap to toothpaste. The Body Shop is one of the few beauty brands who will not be affected by the ban, having always been Against Animal Testing. The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International are launching a range of special commemorative activities in the countdown to 11 th March, sparked by personal confirmation from Commissioner Tonio Borg that the ban is due to go ahead as proposed. Mr Borg wrote in a recent letter to the animal testing campaigners, "I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban." The proposed ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free beauty and in particular to countries such as China, who still demand animal testing for cosmetics, to also respond and ban testing on animals. Cruelty Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: " This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning.Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead." Paul McGreevy, International Values Director at The Body Shop paid tribute to customers who have supported the company's campaign against animal testing in cosmetics for many years and said: " This great achievement inEuropeis only the closure of one chapter. The future of beauty must be cruelty free." In 1991, the BUAV (founder of Cruelty Free International) established a European coalition of leading animal protection organisations across Europe (ECEAE) with the objective to end the use of animal testing for cosmetics. This set in motion a high-profile public and political campaign across Europe spanning over 20 years. In 1993, The Body Shop, the first beauty company to take action on animal testing for cosmetics, supported the campaign by enlisting the support of its consumers across Europe. Three years later in 1996, Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the ECEAE and MEPs in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission. In 2012, the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first global organisation dedicated to ending cosmetics animal testing worldwide. The Body Shop together with Cruelty Free International launched a new international campaign which has so far resulted in customers from 55 countries signing a global pledge supporting an end to animal testing for cosmetics forever.