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New International Guidelines Sound Death Knell for Painful, Unreliable Skin Tests on Rabbits
For Immediate Release:August 2, 2010
Contact:Jessica Sandler 757-622-7382
Norfolk, Va. -- After more than a decade of scientific research, negotiations, and lobbying by animal protection groups, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has approved new, non-animal testing methods for skin irritation. As part of its multi-faceted campaign to end animal testing, PETA UK provided financial support for the rigorous scientific trials that demonstrated the efficacy of EpiDerm--one of the animal-friendly tests included in the new OECD guidelines. The guidelines will become the global standard for skin irritation testing, replacing painful tests on rabbits. The OECD produces safety testing guidelines for its more than 30 member nations, which represent almost all of the world's largest economies.
"Poisoning animals with toxic substances is not only morally wrong but also bad science," says Jessica Sandler, director of PETA's Regulatory Testing Division. "High-tech and humane non-animal testing methods represent a future of safer products and less animal suffering."
Animal-friendly methods employ in vitro (test tube) toxicity screening, "skin" grown in laboratories, and computer models. While non-animal methods have been available to test corrosivity, these are the first methods that can adequately measure skin irritation, thus allowing for a complete assessment of skin effects without the use of animals. The methods adopted by the OECD use reconstructed human skin models that successfully reproduce the effect on human skin and allow reliable, accurate measurements of damage in a way that applying chemicals to the shaved, raw skin of rabbits cannot. Besides the pain and distress caused to the rabbits who are used in such tests, the OECD also considered evidence that the animal tests do not accurately measure whether a substance is likely to be an irritant to human skin.
Using part of a grant originally provided by the Body Shop Foundation, PETA UK financially supported the validation of one non-animal testing method for skin irritation, which produced the scientific evidence that led the OECD to approve the use of the tests.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.
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