Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its commitment to moving away from animal testing.
Andrew Wheeler, EPA spokesperson, noted in a memo from the agency, that “[s]cientific advancements exist today that allow us to better predict potential hazards for risk assessment purposes without the use of traditional methods that rely on animal testing.” He went on to specify that new approach methods have “extensive” benefits which allow for a reduction in animal use “in a shorter timeframe with fewer resources while often achieving equal or greater biological predictivity than current animal models.”
Wheeler indicated that the EPA will be reducing its requests for, and funding of, mammalian studies by 30% by 2025, and that the agency would be eliminating all mammalian study requests and funding by 2035.
While the number of animals and research projects that will be affected by these plans is unclear, according to the EPA, toxicology studies submitted to the agency every year call for the use of anywhere from 20,000 to more than 100,000 animals.
Wheeler also announced that $4.25 million would be given to five institutions—Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Oregon State University and the University of California-Riverside—to develop non-animal alternatives to current animal-based tests.
NAVS joins animal advocates around the country in celebrating this exciting news. The EPA’s stated commitment to move away from animal testing sets in motion steps that will not only spare the lives of countless animals, but which may also influence other federal agencies to follow suit. The potential for positive impact on animals is huge.
We are encouraged to see leadership at the EPA think about animal testing the way NAVS has long spoken about it.
“We can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science in our decision-making that efficiently and cost-effectively evaluates potential effects without animal testing,” Wheeler said.
NAVS could not agree more.
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Source: Grimm, D. “U.S. EPA to eliminate all mammal testing by 2035,” Science, September 10, 2019.