Feds Accept New, More Humane Shellfish Toxicity Test

PETA Funded Licensing Required to Implement Test Nationwide and End Painful Use of Animals

For Immediate Release:
February 5, 2014

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

San Antonio – Tens of thousands of mice a year will be spared agonizing deaths following the landmark approval of a more accurate toxicity test for shellfish eaten by humans.

The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC), the cooperative body that manages and promotes the cleanliness of oysters, clams, scallops, and mussels in the U.S., sanctioned the test at its biennial meeting held in San Antonio from January 25 to 31.

PETA donated $11,500 to fund the radiation licensing necessary to implement the test nationwide and is now working to inform all U.S. fisheries of this development so that they can begin replacing the live-mouse test.

The test detects paralytic shellfish poisons, a group of toxins that can cause facial paralysis, hypotension, vomiting, tachycardia, and fatal cardiovascular shock. These toxins may be found in mussels, soft-shell clams, oysters, lobsters, crabs, herring, salmon, and many other species off the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the U.S.

The newly approved test is a replacement for the decades-old testing method in which fisheries in the U.S. blended a sample of shellfish and injected the resulting slurry into the abdomen of live mice, causing them to have seizures, become paralyzed, and die slowly and painfully when the toxins were present. The more humane test uses the tissue from one animal to analyze approximately 200 samples.

“We were eager to help implement an effective toxicity test that will spare thousands of mice a slow, excruciating death,” says Jessica Sandler, director of the PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd. “U.S. fisheries can now switch to this kinder, scientifically superior, and far less expensive test.”

To date, members of the consortium have contributed $1.5 million toward developing and implementing non-animal research methods.

For more information, please visit piscltd.org.uk.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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