You are here:

A Europe-wide week of action against botox animal tests

Published on


Group of white mice in a laboratory container

We are calling on companies still using mice to stop the cruel animal tests immediately

The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), an alliance of leading European animal organisations for which Cruelty Free International is the secretariat, is taking action against cruel animal experiments for botox. For the fourth year running, we are holding a Week of Action across Europe to protest against the continued use of mice in cruel poisoning tests for botulinum toxin, (commonly known as botox).

The UK based company Ipsen, the German based company Merz, and the Japanese company Eisai are still using mice in controversial poisoning tests for their botox products despite an animal-free testing method having been approved for their rival Allergen four 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, since March 2013, there has been an EU ban on the manufacture and import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals, botox is not included because it is a product that is injected and not applied to the skin (the definition of a cosmetic). 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 who suffocate slowly through muscle paralysis while fully conscious.

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 The manufacturers Merz, Ipsen and Eisai, however, are still using the cruel and outdated LD50 test.

Together with our European partners in the ECEAE we are calling upon the companies still using mice to stop the cruel animal tests immediately.

Michelle Thew, Cruelty Free International Chief Executive says: “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, Ipsen and Eisai to act, so that these cruel botox animal tests become a thing of the past.”

See our undercover investigation at Wickham Laboratories. This included the weekly use of hundreds of mice in poisoning tests for Dysport® (a preparation of one of the most toxic substances known, botulinum toxin, commonly known as botox).  

Latest news and updates