PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department
One critical but lesser known area of experimentation that PETA focuses on is the abuse of millions of animals each year in painful and deadly regulatory tests.
Regulatory agencies in the U.S.—including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration—as well as regulatory agencies in the European Union and elsewhere in the world require chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and many other products to be tested for toxicity. Animals are forced to ingest or inhale—or are injected with—toxic substances such as gasoline components and mercury. Animals used in these tests experience extreme pain before being killed, dissected, and thrown away like garbage.
All the more upsetting is that many of these tests could easily be replaced with more sophisticated, more accurate, and less expensive non-animal alternatives.
Until the late 1990s, most animal protection groups avoided targeting this area of animal testing because few had the scientific expertise to deal with the enormous range of federally regulated substances.
This changed when Jessica Sandler—now the vice president of PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department—joined PETA’s staff in 1998.
Before coming to PETA, Jessica worked as a specialist in biological and chemical hazards for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, having completed her master’s degree in environmental health science.
Because of her scientific expertise—as well as her knowledge of the federal regulatory process—she was the perfect person to lead the negotiations with the White House and the EPA, and she succeeded in greatly reducing the number of animals slated to be used in the EPA’s high production volume (HPV) chemical-testing program—by the tens of thousands!
Over the years, Jessica has recruited more scientists, which, we believe, has made PETA the most credible and influential of all the organizations currently engaged in the fight against toxicity testing on animals.
Highlights and Accomplishments
The following are just some of the accomplishments of PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department:
- Within one year after Jessica Sandler joined PETA’s staff, more than 800,000 animals were spared, thanks to PETA’s campaign against the U.S. government’s HPV chemical-testing program, which was designed to test thousands of chemical substances on animals. Negotiations, scientific testimony, and campaign tactics persuaded the White House to make significant changes to the program.
- Following years of efforts by PETA—including op-eds, lobbying, presenting at conferences and workshops, participation in working groups, and submitting legal petitions, technical comments, and testimony as well as nearly 25,000 responses to our action alert—the EPA agreed to incorporate many of PETA’s recommendations to prioritize the use of non-animal test methods into its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, which had the potential to kill tens of millions of animals. Further efforts helped to push the EPA to incorporate results from these non-animal methods into its program as a step toward its stated goal of developing a set of in vitro methods to replace all animal studies in the program.
- PETA fought the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s request to the Food and Drug Administration that a natural plant-based sweetener be tested on animals—and won.
- When the Sierra Club and other groups wanted the EPA to require animal experiments for air fresheners, PETA presented an analysis showing that additional testing was unnecessary—and the EPA agreed.
- To combat the EPA’s massive chemical-testing programs backed by “mean greenies”—including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Environmental Defense Fund —we launched a website to push organizations that claim to care about the environment and wildlife to support and promote non-animal testing methods.
- PETA persuaded government authorities in Europe to make changes to a massive animal-testing program known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) that will spare up to 4.5 million animals the agony of being force-fed toxic chemicals.
Meet PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department
This team of experts is leading the way in reforming federal and international regulations that require substances to be tested on animals.
- Jessica Sandler
Jessica Sandler received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her graduate degree in environmental health sciences from Johns Hopkins University. She is the vice president of PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department.
- Amy Clippinger
Science adviser Amy Clippinger has a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology and genetics and several years of research experience at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Joe Manuppello
Research associate Joe Manuppello has a master’s degree in molecular biology and genetics and 20 years of research experience at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Jeff Brown
Research associate Jeff Brown studied epidemiology and public health at George Washington University after receiving his undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology.
- Patricia Bishop
Research associate Patricia Bishop has an undergraduate degree in wildlife ecology, a master’s degree in environmental science, and 30 years of experience as a research scientist with the state of New York.
- Monita Sharma
Nanotoxicology expert Monita Sharma has a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Wright State University, with nanotoxicology as her main area of research.
- Katherine Groff
Research associate Katherine Groff has 10 years of experience in animal welfare and environmental policy. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from Michigan State University in natural resource management, with a focus on policy.
PETA applauds its Regulatory Testing Department for all its hard work and its dedication to saving the lives of millions of animals.