Written by Jeff Mackey
A chemical-testing program put in place by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) in 1998 had the potential to cost millions of animals their
lives in laboratory tests. But as a newly published review by PETA scientists
shows, a fraction of that number were used after PETA reached an agreement with
the EPA that established groundbreaking guidelines for the project.
Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program was developed in closed-door meetings with the American Chemistry Council and
the Environmental Defense
Fund and was launched without any public review or comment—but it didn't escape PETA's
After months of discussions, congressional testimony, and
public education tactics—including sending a giant "bunny" to follow
then–presidential candidate and chief HPV supporter Al Gore on the campaign
trail—PETA reached a historic deal with the Clinton administration that
resulted in the EPA's issuing guidance on reducing animal use to participating chemical companies.
As the program dragged on for more than a decade, either
PETA or the Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine reviewed and commented on
every test plan in which animal tests were proposed in order to ensure
adherence to the guidance.
PETA scientists' review of the HPV program has now been published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed journal of the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental
Health Perspectives. The review shows that animal welfare guidance was
inconsistently applied by both chemical companies and the EPA. 127,000
animals were used throughout the program—a heartbreaking toll, yet a much
smaller number than the 3.5 million who would have been killed in a worst-case
Grouping similar chemicals and submitting existing test data
saved the largest number of animals. Combining tests, using the weight of
existing evidence and experience, and replacing animal tests with modern, superior non-animal
methods further reduced the number of animals used.
While the agreement that PETA secured in the HPV program
saved millions of lives and represented an important step forward, inflicting unnecessary suffering and a
miserable death on even one animal is unacceptable.
PETA won't rest until laboratory experiments on animals are consigned to the history
books—and you can help
make that happen!
Written by PETA
Update: PETA has just received more good news for animals in laboratories: Tox21, an ongoing collaboration
among the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health,
and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will use a high-speed robotic
screening system—not animals—to test 10,000 chemicals for toxicity. This switch
will prevent countless animals from suffering in painful and antiquated tests.
Could the government actually be moving into the 21st century on this issue?
The below was originally posted December 15, 2011
The scientists in our Regulatory Testing Division
always appreciate PETA supporters who respond to their (ahem) somewhat technical action alerts. And they especially
appreciate the more than 25,000 of you who responded over the past year to our alert calling on the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to use non-animal methods to reduce the numbers
of animals to be killed in the agency's massive endocrine-disruptor screening program
your efforts paid off, and the EPA issued a statement pledging to implement
changes to the EDSP that have the potential to save more than 3 million animals!
The EPA's new work plan, EDSP21, will use non-animal methods such as computer models and
tests known as "high-throughput
assays." In issuing
EDSP21, the EPA stated that by incorporating advances in computational
modeling, molecular biology, and toxicology, "EPA will prioritize and
screen chemicals with greater speed, efficiency, and accuracy, while minimizing
the use of laboratory animals."
PETA's scientists worked exhaustively over the past five years
to push the EPA in this direction by publishing op-eds; submitting legal
petitions, technical comments, and testimony; lobbying; and making
presentations at conferences and workshops. Six months ago, PETA published an article in a scientific journal and provided the EPA with
a clear pathway that is strikingly similar to what the EPA is now planning to implement.
The EPA's current EDSP program requires the use of
approximately 500 animals per chemical screened for potential interaction with
the endocrine system. Since the EPA has estimated that there are between 6,000
and 9,700 chemicals to be prioritized and screened, the potential to save
animal lives is huge. PETA will, of course, remain hyper-vigilant to ensure
that the EPA follows through on this commitment.
We're also keeping
the pressure on Congress to end invasive experiments on chimpanzees and
retire all the federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries. You can now help get
chimpanzees out of laboratories and into sanctuaries by clicking here to urge your congressional representatives to pass the Great Ape
Protection and Cost Savings Act.
Written by Jessica Sandler
I have good news and, well, not-so-good news. The good news is that as a result of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to pay closer attention to all the factory-farm manure that often spills into our waterways.
The not-so-good news is that the EPA plans to rely on factory farms to provide the data that the agency needs—every five years. The farms will be expected to disclose, among other things, information about their manure-storage facilities and how the "excess manure" is disposed of. In other words, the EPA is letting the fox guard the henhouse.
It's good that the EPA is doing something. But I have more faith in people like Goldman Environmental Prize–winner Lynn Henning, who gathers water samples and uses aerial photography to help hold factory farms accountable for mucking up our rivers and streams. Her efforts can really make a difference—and so can you by reminding people that farms cater to consumers. If there were no demand for flesh, eggs, or milk, then there would be no problem. So here's to a different kind of report: our success in encouraging people to help preserve America's waterways by going vegan.
Try passing out a copy of our vegetarian/vegan starter kit at your nearest stream!
Written by Heather Moore
Several years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to tackle the issue of determining the safety of nanomaterials—teeny-tiny particles that measure less than one-tenth of a micrometer (even smaller than the brain of the average Michael Vick fan) As soon as we learned about this initiative, our staff scientists began communicating with the EPA, urging the agency to use the most modern and sophisticated testing methods instead of automatically relying on archaic animal tests, as government agencies historically have, basically for no better reason than "we've always done it that way."
Last week, our scientists' hard work paid off: The EPA issued its final "Nanomaterials Research Strategy," and it incorporates many of PETA's recommendations. While the original draft still relied heavily on animal tests, the final plan takes full advantage of non-animal test methods. This will greatly reduce the number of animals killed in tests assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials.
Just as important, the research strategy reiterates the principles outlined in the strategic plan the EPA released this spring, which calls for identifying and using non-animal testing methods that will ultimately replace all animal tests for nanomaterials.
This is a win-win for PETA, animals, and the EPA. Oh, and the public wins, too, because reducing the use of animals in assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials also improves the agency's ability to assess hazards to humans.
Written by Alisa Mullins
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.