The World’s Largest Animal Testing Programme – Even Worse Than You Thought

Posted by on July 19, 2011 | Permalink

REACH adImagine finding out that the world’s largest animal testing programme – which has already killed an estimated 200,000 animals – is killing tens of thousands more animals than the law says it should. That is exactly what is happening right here in Europe. To draw attention to this tragedy, we’ve placed this advert in an influential European politics magazine, The Parliament, demanding urgent action from the authorities responsible.

This month, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which administers the massive European Union chemicals testing programme known as “REACH” (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) published a report on the use of animals and alternative methods. It makes for a shocking reading, revealing the following facts:

  • Up to 1,000 animals were used in painful skin and eye irritation tests, even though fully accepted non-animal methods exist, some of which are even written into EU legislation.
  • For certain chemicals, companies are required to submit a proposal to test that must be approved in advance, but tests on animals were conducted without this submission and approval. An estimated 58,000 animals suffered and died in those tests.
  • Despite advice from ECHA that certain preliminary tests should be omitted if proposals were made for more comprehensive testing to be conducted instead, a number of companies conducted the tests regardless. An estimated 140,000 animals died in those tests.
  • Critical mechanisms specified in the REACH law to avoid animal tests – mechanisms that PETA and other animal advocates fought hard to introduce – have been underused or completely ignored. It is not possible with the information currently available to estimate how many animals died as a result.

Whose fault is this? Well, the companies performing the tests certainly should not have done them – but ECHA doesn’t even seem to be checking whether or not animal tests could have been replaced with non-animal methods, despite what seems to be a clear obligation under the law for them to do so. That’s why PETA is calling on the European Commission – which is ultimately responsible for ensuring that REACH is administered properly – to take immediate and decisive action to ensure that animal testing is minimised in reality and not just in words.

Please contact European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik via his webpage to demand that immediate action be taken. Please send only polite letters requesting that the Commission take immediate steps to ensure that animal testing is avoided whenever and wherever possible and that penalties for breaches of this principle are implemented.

(These figures are from the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments.)