Ten years have passed since the first manufacturer of botulinum toxin products (commonly known as botox) received regulatory approval for an animal-free test. After Allergan, two other global companies, Merz and Ipsen, switched to animal-free tests in 2015 and 2018. Despite these victories for animal rights campaigning, the extremely cruel botox tests on mice continue. The Irish Anti-Vivisection Society, member of the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), is calling upon the European Medicine Agency (EMA) to delete the LD50 test on mice from the European regulations. The ECEAE will be holding a Week of Action across Europe from 21 to 26 June to protest against the continued use of mice in this cruel poisoning test.
Occasionally used for medical purposes, the bacterial poison is well-known for its cosmetic use to temporarily reduce facial lines and wrinkles. Each batch of botox is tested by the controversial LD50 (Lethal Dose) poisoning test with different dosages of botulinum toxin being injected in the abdomen of mice in order to find the dose, which kills half of the animals. This involves appalling suffering for the animals who suffocate slowly through muscle paralysis while fully conscious. In Europe, an estimated 400,000 mice per year, are subjected to this cruel death.
Continuous protests by the ECEAE and others have persuaded the manufacturers Allergan, Merz and Ipsen to use cell-based assays, replacing most of their animal tests. However, some tests of these companies are still conducted on mice.
One manufacturer still using the cruel LD50 test is Sloan Pharma. In 2019, the company received a license to conduct LD50 tests on 46,800 mice in Germany.
The European Pharmacopoeia which regulates the batch testing of botox products allows a number of animal-free test methods, but it also still allows the LD50 test on mice. The ECEAE calls upon the regulatory authority EMA to delete the mouse assay from the Pharmacopoeia.
Yvonne Smalley: “It is unacceptable that sentient animals are still subjected to an agonizing death for a product widely used for cosmetic purposes despite non-animal technologies being available.”
Please contact the Executive Director of the European Medicine Agency, Emer Cooke.
Urge her to delete the LD50 test on mice from the European regulations.
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Contact email for Emer Cooke: firstname.lastname@example.org