The BUAV is supporting the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) Week of Action across Europe to protest against the continued use of mice in cruel poisoning tests for botulinum toxin, (commonly known as botox), despite the existence of an EU approved non-animal alternative.
The UK based company Ipsen, and the German based company Merz are still using mice in controversial poisoning tests for their botox products despite an animal-free testing method having been approved for their rival Allergan three years ago. Used for medical purposes, the bacterial poison, botulinum toxin, is best known for its cosmetic use to temporarily reduce facial lines and wrinkles. Although there is now an EU ban on the manufacture and import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals, botox is not included because it is injected. This loophole in the EU law permits hundreds of thousands of mice to be used in cruel tests on this substance worldwide every year.
The animal test for botox uses the controversial LD50 (Lethal Dose) poisoning test. Groups of mice are injected in the abdomen with different dosages of botulinum toxin in order to find the dose which kills half the animals. This involves appalling suffering for the animals. They suffocate slowly through muscle paralysis while fully conscious.
A BUAV undercover investigation at Wickham Laboratories in the UK revealed the appalling suffering inflicted on thousands of animals in poisoning tests for the a botulinum toxin product called Dysport ® (manufactured by Ipsen).
The U.S company Allergan has received the approval of US and European agencies for the use of a non-animal cell test method to test its form of botulinum toxin (BotoxTM). In doing so, Allergan has shown that it is possible to replace the cruel mouse bioasssay. The cell method would need to be adjusted to the products of the manufacturers Merz and Ipsen, however, three years have passed since the approval without any apparent progress or reduction in animal numbers.
The ECEAE is calling upon the companies still using mice to stop the cruel animal tests immediately. Member groups from across the EU are participating in the week of action.
BUAV and ECEAE Chief Executive, Michelle Thew stated: “It is totally unacceptable that thousands of mice continue to suffer and die for a product widely used for cosmetic purposes when there is an EU approved non-animal alternative testing method in existence. We urge the authorities and companies, Merz and Ipsen to act, so that these cruel botox animal tests become a thing of the past.”