'batch-test' | 

Hundreds of thousands of mice killed in botox experiments in Ireland claims campaign group

Anti-wrinkle injections were allegedly used on the mice in what one group describes as a ‘gratuitous abuse of animals in laboratories’

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Darragh McDonaghSunday World

More than half a million mice were killed in experiments to batch-test botox in Ireland over a four-year period, a campaign group has claimed.

A total of 524,596 of the little rodents were used in batch potency testing between 2017 and 2021, according to figures obtained by the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society (IAVS), which is calling for an end to the practice.

A number of Irish-based pharmaceutical companies use mice to batch-test botox, which is a neurotoxin used in anti-wrinkle injections.

The procedure involves different dosages of the substance being injected into mice to determine the amount at which half of the test subjects die. The half that survive the test are euthanised anyway.

The IAVS describes the procedure as “gratuitous abuse of animals in laboratories”, and says the test subjects die of suffocation while fully conscious because the substance paralyzes the respiratory muscles.

It said certain drug manufacturers have replaced most animal tests with cell-based experiments, but the technology behind these is not shared with other firms, which therefore continue to use live subjects.

Documents obtained by the group from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) noted in 2016 that the botox test “required death as an endpoint”, but that “humane endpoints” were being introduced by which mice would have to be euthanised before being killed by the test substance.

A total of 100,848 mice were used in batch potency testing in 2020, which represented an increase from the 92,887 used during the previous year. Some 138,846 were used in 2018, while 192,015 were used in 2017.

The IAVS is joining the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) for a day of action today to call for an end to what they call the most severe and gratuitous abuse of animals in labs.

The two groups are calling for the European Pharmacopoeia, which regulates the batch testing of botox products, to ban testing on mice altogether. They are also working together to obtain one million signatures for a petition calling for the European Commission to phase out all animal experiments.

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