According to recent research conducted by scientists affiliated with the organization Cruelty Free International, a shocking 400,000 animals a year are used in botox testing. The paper, published in the journal ALTEX: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, revealed that the number of animals exploited in the controversial botox poisoning testing in Europe is still at record levels. The findings are staggering especially due to the progress that has been made in non-animal testing methods in recent years.
The huge number of animals used and killed in botox testing is a result of a loophole in animal testing law that pertains to the substance. The European Union banned cosmetic animal testing in 2013, but the EU law does not define botox as a cosmetic because it is injected as opposed to applied to the skin. This does not change the fact that botox is mostly used cosmetically, in order to reduce facial wrinkles, and only for some very limited medical purposes. In the end, this reality allows for hundreds of thousands of mice to be subjected to cosmetic testing every year. During the tests, the animals are injected with poison before slowly suffocating to death due to muscle paralysis, while they are still fully conscious, Cruelty Free International explains.
“It is completely unacceptable that sentient animals suffer an agonizing death for a product that is widely used for cosmetic purposes, especially when a non-animal alternative is available,” said Dr. Katy Taylor, Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs at Cruelty Free International. “We urge all botox companies across Europe to end the cruel suffering and deaths of hundreds of thousands of animals by making these barbaric botox tests a thing of the past.”
The paper points out the positive developments in non-animal testing methods applicable to botox products, including a cell-based assay which has been validated by the pharmaceutical company Allergan and is now being used as a replacement of tests on mice. Two more companies, Merz and Ipsen, have recently validated similar assays to replace living animals in batch testing.
Cruelty Free International is now calling for a review into whether testing by companies that refuse to utilize alternative methods should be allowed under EU law. Click here to sign a Care2 petition aiming to draw attention to the issue and urging the President of the European Commission to review the issue as soon as possible.
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