Stop Botox Testing on Mice Now

  • by: Alicia Mottur
  • recipient: Allergan, Inc. Corporate Headquarters, Irvine, California
Each year worldwide close to a million mice die after enduring the unbearable suffering of Botox testing, in which lethal doses of the drug are injected into groups of laboratory mice to test its potency.

Animal rights campaigners in the United States and Europe have long been urging the leading American pharmaceutical company, Allergan, which owns and markets Botox, to stop testing the product on mice, and to adopt instead one of the reliable, effective alternative tests not using animals.

The test currently used, known as the LD50 test, involves injecting the botulinum toxin type A (the active ingredient in Botox) into a group of mice in sufficient quantities to kill 50% of the animals.  The toxin is injected into the mouse's abdomen, then researchers wait to see how many of the animals die over a period of 3 to 4 days.  About 100 mice are normally used for each test, and each batch is often tested more than once.  The mice are first assigned to one of various groups, and each group receives a different strength of the product in order to estimate the strength that kills half of the targeted group.

The antiquated LD50 test, first developed in the 1920's, is cruel and brutal.  No pain relief is administered to the test animals, who either die immediately from suffocation after their diaphragms have been paralysed, or may languish over several days with varying degrees of paralysis before being euthanised.

U. S. and European authorities have identified a number of replacement tests NOT using animals that, once validated and adopted by drugs manufacturers, such as Allergan, would replace the LD50 test.  In contrast to the LD50 test, these alternatives apply modern technology and insights from cutting-edge research in molecular biology and immunology into the toxic effects of botulinum toxin on the organism.  The two most promising alternatives are the endopeptidase assay and the neural cell-based assay, also known as "SNAP-25" tests.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration does not specifically require manufacturers of drugs using the botulinum toxin to employ the LD50 test; rather it requires the "performance of a sensitive potency assay."

Please urge Allergan to show courage and true leadership by validating and adopting one of these humane alternatives.

For further information on Botox and animal testing, please go to these links:

We the undersigned urge you to please encourage Allergan to abandon the testing of Botox on mice, and to instead validate and subsequently adopt the alternative SNAP-25 test not involving laboratory animals.

As we are sure you are aware, the currently used LD50 test causes unspeakable suffering to the animals, during which at least 50% of test mice die from paralysis and suffocation.  The SNAP-25 test has been proven effective and accurate, and its application in the pharmaceutical industry is only awaiting the validation by market leaders, such as your company.  It is estimated that about 600,000 laboratory mice die each year as a result of testing of the botulinum toxin for pharmaceutical purposes.  A decision by Allergan to adopt an alternative, humane test method would represent a tremendous step forward in ending the suffering of millions of animals.

According to the National Institute of Health, both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency discourage the use of the LD50 test, while the Food and Drug Administration does not require it.

Furthermore, as public opinion is increasingly on the side of protecting animals from suffering in product testing, a decision by Allergan to abolish animal testing in favor of humane alternatives could only reflect favorably on Allergan's business and reputation.

We hope you will consider this problem, and help your company to institute new methods addressing the tragic plight of countless fragile and sensitive animals who involuntarily bear the heaviest burden of our medical research.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention.

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