Collaboration for better science

Lush & Animal Aid call for an end to lethal dose animal tests

‘Time for better science’ is the message from campaign group, Animal Aid, who this week launched a major new campaign calling for the replacement of outdated and cruel ‘lethal dose’ tests, with the more reliable modern test method which now exists. At the centre of the campaign is Animal Aid’s petition which calls on the government, industry regulators, pharmaceutical and chemical companies to show their support for better science by pledging to immediately end the unreliable ‘Lethal Dose 50%’ tests.

Ahead of World Day for Animals in Laboratories on 24th April, Animal Aid have partnered with Lush Cosmetics, to bring attention to the campaign and to call on the public to add their voices. This campaign will feature in the windows of all Lush UK and Ireland stores from 14th – 26th April. On Tuesday 18th April the Lush store on London’s Oxford Street will be harking back to the 1920s, which is when the current ‘lethal dose 50’ tests were developed.

The new test, called AcutoX, was developed by a British laboratory, XCellR8, and part-funded by Animal Aid. AcutoX launched recently in the US and is ready for client companies to use. The LD50 test, which is still currently in use, was developed nearly 100 years ago and involves giving increasing doses of toxic substances to groups of animals, usually mice, until 50% of them are killed. This is then the ‘Lethal Dose 50%’ for that substance. The LD50 does not produce accurate or precise data that is relevant to humans: Species differences are one of the reasons why animal experiments do not provide data which is reliably translated to humans. 

Instead of using animals to try to determine what is poisonous to humans, AcutoX exposes ethically sourced, human skin cells to increasing doses of a test chemical, to learn how damaged the cells are. The more damaged the cells, the more toxic the chemical.

Animal Aid are helping to pave the way for better, safer methods of toxicity testing. They are organising a reception this week at the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Emma Hardy MP, to outline the AcutoX test, the value of non-animal research to the national economy and also the importance of such technologies in making the UK a world-leader in science.  Lush already use the vegan laboratory, XCellR8 to test some of their products, and are keen to promote the petition – which also calls for a timetabled end to the use of all animal experiments in Britain. 

Animal Aid has campaigned against all animal experiments, but specifically the LD50 for over four decades. With the launch of AcutoX and the mounting scientific evidence about the poor relevance to humans of animal-based research, we urge everyone to join us in calling for a ‘Ban on lethal dose animal tests: it’s time for better science’.  

-Daisy Hall, Campaign Manager for Animal Aid

“As a company that has to test our products to bring them to market, we can’t think of a test that is more irrelevant than the LD50 test.  It provides nothing that would give us confidence to evaluate how something reacts for our customers and we have never used it.  Science and technology has changed in leaps and bounds since the days this test was regarded as ‘good science’ – so we are 100% behind a push to get this taken away from the regulatory framework.  Our Lush Prize initiative aims to celebrate and accelerate new science, so this Animal Aid and XCellR8 initiative is precisely the kind of work we champion”.

-Hilary Jones, Lush Ethics Director

End Lethal Dose Animal Tests,
narrated by Diane Morgan

notes to editor

You can sign the petition online at

Animal Aid, based in Tonbridge, is a national campaign group founded in 1977. Animal Aid campaigns peacefully against all animal abuse, and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle. Their campaign areas include animal experiments, farming and slaughter, horse racing, wildlife persecution and vegan outreach. 

XCellR8 provides entirely animal-free safety and efficacy tests to the cosmetics, personal care and chemical industries. Regulatory tests include assessments for skin or eye irritation, skin sensitization and skin corrosion whilst non regulatory tests include cytotoxicity and acute toxicity amongst others.  XCellR8’s clients include high street retailers both in the UK and globally, including Lush, and many ingredient manufacturers.

XCellR8 was founded in 2008 and currently employs around 25 staff at their site in Techspace One, Sci-Tech Daresbury, Cheshire UK XCellR8’s work has been recognised at a regulatory level by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and supported by top funding bodies such as Innovate UK* and the European Horizon 2020 programme.

Lush invent, manufacture and retails fresh handmade cosmetics.  A beauty company with a campaigning heart, Lush is passionate about direct action using its stores around the world as a platform to shed light on little-known social and environmental issues.

*Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government

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