EU Shellfish Deal Portends Cruel Toxicity Tests on Mice

PETA Pushes Massachusetts, Washington to Adopt Humane Test Methods

For Immediate Release:
February 15, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Seattle – Now that Massachusetts and Washington will begin selling shellfish to the European Union (EU) for human consumption, PETA is placing pressure on both states to adopt humane toxicity tests to determine food safety, rather than using the cruel and scientifically inferior mouse bioassay, which the EU does not allow for routine use. In the mouse bioassay, fisheries blend samples of shellfish and inject the slurry into the abdomens of live mice, causing seizures, paralysis, and death when toxins are present—all to gauge whether the shellfish is safe for humans to eat.

“A test that uses subjective data-gathering techniques, such as observing the ‘last gasping breath’ of mice, is far from scientific. Instead, states must implement the advanced, humane methods that are available,” says Katherine Groff, M.S., a PETA senior research associate. “PETA encourages these states to stop allowing the mouse bioassay and urges everyone to practice kindness to all animals, from mice to mollusks, by going vegan.”

PETA notes the substantial scientific limitations to the mouse bioassay. The World Health Organization and European Food Safety Authority, in addition to experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have noted the bioassay’s lack of sensitivity, specificity, and precision, highlighting the need to transition to better test methods. Non-animal methods tend to be more specific and sensitive as well as less time-consuming and expensive per sample analyzed. Methods such as high-performance liquid chromatography, liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry, and enzyme-linked immunoassays are available to test for all toxins of concern in the U.S.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind