The agency that oversees the largest animal testing program of all time has just announced new guidelines that mean that the number of animals who could fall victim to toxicity testing during the course of the program has dropped—by 4.5 million!
This news from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) comes in response to a detailed letter PETA initiated in cooperation with other animal protection groups. That letter was written after we learned from a chemical manufacturer that under the E.U.’s new Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) Regulation, a number of duplicative tests were going to be conducted.
PETA, along with PETA Europe, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Eurogroup for Animals, HSI Europe, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, voiced concerns about the likelihood that companies would conduct duplicative animal tests for some types of toxicity when registering their chemicals under REACH. The letter explained how the redundant testing could be avoided.
ECHA was quick to issue a news release and a factsheet instructing chemical companies not to conduct initial toxicity screenings if they are planning to conduct more comprehensive tests during the later stages of REACH. Based on ECHA’s own figures, 6,000 chemicals may fall under the relevant information requirements, and because up to 735 animals may be used for the initial toxicity screening for each chemical tested, ECHA’s response has the potential to save the lives of 4.5 million animals.
There’s still much work to be done, as REACH will still cause massive animal suffering. But you can bet your (vegan) boots that our next step will be to do everything possible to make sure that companies follow ECHA’s new guidelines so that as many animals as possible will be spared.
Written by Shawna Flavell