Ireland has by far the highest per-capita death rate in Europe for animals used in Botox testing, according to an anti-animal testing group.
The Irish Anti-Vivisection Society (IAVS) says Ireland’s animal testing death rate for botulinum toxin (BT) products is six times higher than anywhere else in Europe.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, IAVS Policy Consultant Dr Dan Lyons said the animal testing used in the industry is “about the most severe type of animal test that exists”.
“Unfortunately, the traditional way of testing Botox is a type of poisoning test,” he said.
“It is a lethal dose 50% (LD50) test where basically batches of the poison, in this case Botox, are injected into the abdomens of mice to see what dosage will kill 50% of them.
“So, it is about the most severe type of animal test that possibly exists and the fact that is it so dominant in Ireland is, as far as we are concerned, a real problem and a real scandal for this country.”
The mice involved in the study suffer paralysis, impaired vision and respiratory distress.
It can take them three to four days to die from suffocation.
Dr Lyons said an alternative method of testing is available; however, whenever a new company enters the market it is a costly process to develop.
He said new companies are still given permission to carry out the animal testing, meaning they have little incentive to speedily develop the alternative.
The IAVS consultant said companies are also able to label BT as medicinal – even though the vast majority of it is used for cosmetic purposes.
“You might be aware that there is supposed to be a ban across Europe on animal testing for cosmetic purposes,” he said.
“The idea being that it is not worth poisoning animals just for the sake of a new cosmetic product
“The problem is, with Botox, they get around that ban – firstly because when they produce it and set it up for testing, it’s all labelled for medicinal use even though they know some of it is for cosmetic use.
“The other thing is that because it is injected rather than put on the skin, it evades the European definition of cosmetics.”
The IAVS is calling on the Government to introduce new laws banning the LD50 test for Botox in Ireland.
The world’s supply of ‘Botox’ BT is manufactured at a factory in Westport.
You can sign the society’s petition here.
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