Animal Aid and Others Call for Boycott of Botox

Animal rights groups in the UK recently discovered that every batch of Botox — the anti-wrinkle treatment that uses the botulinum toxin — is tested on mice to ensure its safety. UK animal rights group Animal Aid is calling for a boycott of Botox until the manufacturer switches to non-animal testing.

According to Animal Aid,

Thousands of mice are being poisoned to death to test the latest cosmetic craze: ‘Botox’. In barbaric experiments known as LD50 toxicity tests – supposedly outlawed by the government in 1999 – the animals are injected with the toxin and suffer symptoms including impaired vision, paralysis of the body, and paralysis of the diaphragm, which leads to death by suffocation.

Botulinum toxin, of course, is fatal to human beings so ensuring that human beings are only injected with enough to paralyze muscles rather than cause more serious problems is essential for ensuring the treatment’s safety.

Companies that manufacture botox assure this safety by using an LD50 test. Since botox batches will vary in potency, an LD50 test is used to determine what the correct dosage level for each batch is. In fact, botox is packaged in vials of 100 mouse units, with each mouse unit being the dosage need to kill 50 percent of mice when injected in animals.

Animal Aid believes such testing should be illegal under Great Britain’s ban on animal testing for cosmetics. But botox has a number of clinical uses as well, and what Great Britain has done is given manufacturer Dysport a blanket clearance to do animal testing of botox — since the use of botox for cosmetics purposes is still off-label in the UK, it hasn’t been forced to consider the conflict created with its cosmetics testing ban.


Outcry over mice that die for every batch of Botox. Sean Poulter, Daily Mail (London), January 27, 2004.

Botox and Animal Experiments. Animal Aid, January 2004.

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