The area's European representative helped hand in a eight million signature strong petition calling for an end to animal testing.

East of England MEP Alex Mayer joined Cruelty Free International protestors to demand cosmetic testing be banned worldwide at the United Nations in New York.

The 8 million strong petition is the biggest ever animal related petition in history.

Ms Mayer visited the Bishop Stortford, Harlow and Loughton Body Shops to help collect signatures.

While in Britain and across Europe, animal testing for cosmetics is banned, in 80 per cent of the world there are no laws banning testing cosmetics or their ingredients on animals. Over half a million animals, including rabbits, mice and guinea pigs are used for animal testing worldwide each year.

She said: “Wow, what an achievement. 8 million signatures sends a really powerful message and I’d like to thank the countless shoppers from across Hertfordshire who’ve added their names and made this possible.

“Today we are saying loud and clear it is time for the UN to take action for a worldwide ban to end cosmetic testing on animals always and forever.”