12 July 2011

FDA approves cruelty free alternative to animal testing for Botox

Healthcare company Allergan, has attained the go ahead to test its own brand Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) and BOTOX cosmetic by means of an in-vitro, cell based assay instead of the usual method of testing on mice, known as LD50.

The LD50 test (meaning the lethal dose that will kill 50% of the animal group used) is used to determine the product toxicity; the testing requires the mice having botox injected into their abdomen, and then being observed. They then become paralyzed and will suffocate to death if not killed. The normal method of killing is by gassing or by breaking their necks with a pen as shown in this video.

The move to cruelty free methods is being applauded by animal welfare organizations that have long campaigned to end animal use in product testing. Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of British Union of Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) said, “We welcome this latest development. It is totally unacceptable that animals should continue to pay for our vanity by suffering and dying in these horrendous tests.”

The new method of testing will be put into effect immediately, and according to Allergan, “The new assay is the first to be developed and approved for any botulinum neurotoxin currently available worldwide, and is specifically applicable to Allergan’s botulinum toxin type product.”

“We are proud to have achieved this major scientific milestone in the development of a safe and effective alternative test capable of eliminating the need for an animal-based assay for BOTOX®,” said Scott Whitcup, M.D., Allergan’s Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer.

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/pshab