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February 4, 2010

The HSUS Applauds Botox Manufacturer Allergan for Steps to Replace Controversial Animal Test

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Allergan Corporation for announcing its progress toward replacing a controversial animal test used in manufacturing its flagship product Botox® Cosmetic, the popular anti-wrinkle treatment. In response to the company's updated "Corporate Statement on Animal Testing," The HSUS this week withdrew its shareholder resolution urging Allergan to post such an update on its Web site. 

This was the third resolution that The HSUS filed with the company in as many years. The Calvert Asset Management Corporation co-filed these resolutions and joined The HSUS in withdrawing the latest proposal.

"Allergan has taken a significant step towards greater transparency in its efforts to develop alternatives to the Lethal Dose 50 Test," said Martin Stephens, Ph.D., HSUS vice president for animal research issues. "We applaud the company's progress in reducing animal use in its testing protocol by 78 percent, as well as its firmly stated commitment to developing a non-animal test for this purpose."

The LD50 Test is used to assess the potency of new batches of botulinum toxin, the active ingredient in all forms of Botox. Different doses of the toxin are injected into mice to determine the dose that kills 50 percent of the test animals. The toxin causes paralysis of the respiratory muscles in injected animals, leading to death by asphyxiation.

 "It is our hope that Allergan issues another update in the near future, announcing that the company has succeeded in completely replacing the LD50 Test with a non-animal alternative," said Ellen Kennedy, senior sustainability analyst with Calvert.

Facts

  • For a timeline of HSUS actions on Botox testing, click here.
  • The LD50 Test was once the cornerstone of toxicology. It has now been all but abandoned, although it remains the mandated test for botulinum toxin-based products until alternatives are developed and accepted by regulatory authorities. 

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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