Campaign: To persuade regulators to accept validated alternatives to animal testing, saving thousands of animals at a time.
Legislation and guidelines for safety testing of chemicals and drugs often specify that animal tests are done. However, there is also a legal and moral imperative to avoid using animals when validated alternatives exist. Unfortunately, legislators and regulators are very slow at updating their requirements or the wording of these is so vague or contradictory that companies are confused about whether an animal test is required or not. If companies are in any doubt as to whether an animal test is required, they often err on the side of caution and conduct the animal test. Thousands of animals are used in the EU and worldwide for tests that have already been scientifically validated and are available for use.
The BUAV Replace campaign aims to persuade regulators to accept alternatives to animal experiments where they exist, which in turn will save the lives of thousands of animals each year.
The BUAV is working to save as many animals as we can by encouraging regulators to promote and accept alternative methods to animal testing.
We are also:
The poor drafting of EU chemical legislation (REACH) meant many animals were at risk of being used for two, very similar tests. The BUAV raised this with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) who immediately issued a statement that helped companies avoid this duplicative testing. We estimate that, because of our intervention, at the time that this single action spared 4.5 million animals.
In 2008, despite a statement from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that single dose acute toxicity tests were redundant for new human medicines, they refused to remove their guideline that stated the exact opposite. This created confusion and companies remained in limbo. After nearly two years of continual lobbying by the BUAV, the EMA finally removed these guidelines. We estimate that such a move has spared 50,000 animals per year from this horrific poisoning test.
In 2009, the BUAV conducted an investigation into the UK company, Wickham Laboratories, which discovered that horrific tests were being carried out on rabbits and mice for medicines, which were no longer required by international regulations. In 2010, as a direct result of the BUAV’s efforts, the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate reviewed their licenses. This resulted in a change to the licenses for 26 drugs, which will save the lives of an estimated 38,000 animals over the next five years.
Whenever a new chemical or medical product emerges onto the market, companies will refer to the official guidelines for testing, which may result in experiments on animals. It is, therefore, vital that we continue our work to ensure that alternative methods are included in these guidelines whenever they are available. It is also important to ensure that poor guidance or inadequacies in the regulatory process do not continue to allow animals to be used when they have already been replaced.
The BUAV is the only UK animal protection organisation consistently doing this kind of work. Over the past 12 months alone, our hard work has prevented 88,000 animals from being tested on.