We are delighted to hear that a new non-animal method to test botox has been approved. The cell-based tests will be used by French pharmaceutical company Ipsen for botox products sold in Europe. It replaces the controversial LD50 (Lethal Dose) poisoning test which kills hundreds of thousands of mice every year.
Together with our coalition partners in the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) we have campaigned against the use of mice in cruel poisoning tests for botox for several years. At this year’s annual European Week of Action we urged Ipsen to use a more humane animal-free test for its botox products.
In 2009 we exposed the suffering of mice used in tests at Ipsen’s Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire. Our investigation revealed the killing of mice on the floor with pens and a failure to prevent extreme suffering. Although a Home Office investigation found Wickham guilty of causing unnecessary animal suffering, they continued to licence the laboratory to use up to 100,000 mice in tests every year.
Dr Katy Taylor, Director of Science, says: “We are delighted that Ipsen has successfully gained the approval of a non-animal alternative in Europe. This will put an end to the cruel killing of hundreds of thousands of mice for the testing of botox products. It is unacceptable that animals go through an agonizing death for a product used for cosmetic purposes when a non-animal alternative is available. We urge other botox companies to make cruel botox animal tests a thing of the past.”
Although sometimes used for medical purposes, botox is mostly used to reduce facial lines and wrinkles. Since March 2013 there has been an EU ban on cosmetics tested on animals, but botox isn’t included because it is injected not put on the skin (the definition of a ‘cosmetic’). This loophole in EU law tragically means that hundreds of thousands of mice are used in cruel tests for botox worldwide every year.