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Making A Difference

Undercover Investigation of Botox Rival Reveals Inhumane Animal Tests

by Martin Stephens, Ph.D.

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Undercover Investigation of Botox Rival Reveals Inhumane Animal Tests It’s no secret that people are willing to make sacrifices for beauty—fad diets, boot camp exercise programs, and cosmetic procedures are commonplace. But there are other victims of our looks-obsessed culture, and as a recent undercover investigation reveals, the results are not attractive.

For eight months, an undercover investigator working for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) filmed animal tests involving the drug Dysport, a competitor to Botox—the drug popular in the United States for temporarily removing facial wrinkles.

The undercover investigation provides a window into an otherwise hidden world, revealing the scale of animal suffering associated with the manufacturing of Botox-type products. Though conducted in the United Kingdom, it should aid The Humane Society of the United States’ efforts, centered in the United States, to pressure Botox manufacturer Allergan to implement a non-animal alternative to the LD50 test.

Ugly Results

Like Botox, Dysport’s active ingredient is the same nerve toxin that causes botulism. And like Botox, every new batch of Dysport is tested using the infamous Lethal Dose 50 percent (LD50) test.

The method used in the LD50 test is simple but inhumane. Toxicity is measured by the dose needed to kill 50 percent of the animals in the experiment, in this case, mice. The animals gradually become paralyzed and eventually suffocate over the course of the 3- to 4-day procedure.

Ipsen Biofarm, the manufacturer of Dysport, contracts out its testing to Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire, England.

Over a six-month period during which Ipsen commissioned the testing of Dysport, 41,000 animals were used to evaluate the drug using the LD50 test.

Undercover video taken at the facility shows the various steps in the testing process: the injection of the toxin in the animals’ abdomens, the slow process of toxin-induced paralysis, and death either from asphyxiation or euthanasia.

The animals were euthanized by having their necks broken or by being gassed with carbon dioxide. In some clips, laboratory workers botch the neck breaking procedure, resulting in live animals with broken backs.

Help Make A Difference:

What You Can Do

Visit to learn more and to contact Botox manufacturer Allergan in the United States, and ask them to implement a non-animal alternative to the LD50 test.

Martin Stephens, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Animal Research Issues for The Humane Society of the United States

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