EPA Announces Plan to Phase Out Many Animal Experiments

The NEAVS Team, September 11, 2019

The Victory

Hooray! Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that by 2035, they will have eliminated experimentation on mammals.

A Brief History of the Issue

The EPA is one government entity which may insist on toxicity testing before allowing products to enter the U.S. market. Though intended to mitigate hazards to human health, these toxicity tests are too often conducted at the expense of animals’ lives.

Rats confined in forced inhalation chambers (Source: EPA)

The toxicity tests can be torturous for the animals. The Draize test is one of the more commonly known examples of this—in this test, rabbits’ eyes are dripped or slathered with chemicals so researchers may study their effects on living tissue. The most common EPA toxicity tests “involve administering massive, human-irrelevant doses of substances to animals by force-feeding, forced inhalation, injection, spiked food and water, and application to their bare skin, including to pregnant animals and their offspring.” Source

Hundreds of thousands of animals, such as dogs, mice, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, birds, and fish are used and killed annually in toxicity testing.

NEAVS Took a Stand

In 2018, we at NEAVS partnered with White Coat Waste Project to issue the report “Toxic Testing: Wasteful Animal Tests at the National Toxicology Program.” We spoke up for the animals needlessly killed and delivered the report during a congressional hearing in May of that same year. We had found that in 2016 alone, the NTP’s toxicology testing wasted the lives of more than 115,000 animals. It was staggering numbers like this that we wanted our leaders on Capitol Hill to consider before continuing to fund such abysmal cruelty.

You Sounded Your Voice

Mounting pressure from animal advocates opposed to cruel and unnecessary experimentation can’t be ignored for long. The public knows that alternatives to animal testing are available—such as comprehensive toxicology databases—and many of these alternatives have been proven more effective and accurate than their animal experiment counterparts.

It was, in large part, pressure from you that enabled the EPA to even consider backing away from toxicity testing on animals. They now recognize what we all already knew: animal experimentation is wasteful and needless.

The EPA’s Plan to Reduce and Eliminate Animal Testing 

The EPA’s detailed plan includes the investment of $4.25 million into research and development of alternatives—what they’re calling “New Approach Methods”, or NAMs for short—to animals used in chemical safety tests. Additionally, the EPA will reduce the requests and funding of mammal studies by 30% by 2025 and then plans to eliminate all mammal studies by 2035. In the following years, companies wanting to bring a new chemical to market will need to seek EPA approval before conducting any animal tests.

EPA Director Andrew Wheeler is quoted below:

“Through scientific innovation and strategic partnerships, we can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science in our decision-making that efficiently and cost-effectively evaluates potential effects without animal testing.” Source

With the EPA’s changes, the agency can continue to test potential hazards to human health while avoiding unnecessary pain and suffering for animals.

We’re so thankful the EPA has made these plans that will soon spare the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent animals.

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