The BUAV, with our colleagues at the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), have been granted leave to intervene in another appeal case being heard at the Board of Appeal at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This is now the fifth case being heard that relates to a decision the Agency has made on the need for a new animal test and is the fourth in which the ECEAE has, been granted leave to intervene.
This case relates to two issues. The first is an order by the ECHA for the conduct of a 90 day oral toxicity test which would involve at least 100 rats. The ECEAE discovered that the National Toxicology Programme in the USA is planning a similar study in mice and the company in question has requested if it can avoid duplicating the test. The second issue is an order by the ECHA for a second prenatal developmental toxicity (PNDT) test to be conducted, which could use up to 580 rabbits. Unlike the ECHA, neither the company nor the ECEAE think a second species test is mandatory according to the legal text and hope that the Board of Appeal will overturn this ruling.
The ECEAE is concerned that the ECHA has been inconsistent in its approach on this issue but is now routinely ordering second species tests on a default basis. We argue that there is no need for a second species study in the particular circumstances. PNDT studies are in fact notoriously poor at predicting effects in human offspring.
BUAV’s Senior Scientific Advisor, Dr Katy Taylor states: “We are pleased to assist the Board of Appeal in yet another case concerning animal testing. It is encouraging to see companies question decisions that the Agency has made, when it would otherwise be all too easy to just commission the animal test.”
REACH is the European chemical testing regime. Set up in June 2007, it stands for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. Its purpose is to establish whether an estimated 30,000 chemicals on the market are safe for humans and the environment, and to control the use of those judged to present a risk. Animal testing will be used to establish the safety of these chemicals.
The ECEAE is the only organisation pro-actively involved in working to stop animal tests under REACH from taking place with legal and scientific submissions. We are working to save as many animals as we can, looking at each testing proposal in turn and presenting alternatives - in the form of non-animal testing methods or sourcing existing data where chemicals have already been tested.
Earlier this year, following submissions by the BUAV-led European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, animal tests for four substances have been either rejected by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or withdrawn by the company involved. We estimate this has saved up to 7,000 animals who would otherwise have suffered and died in a total of five toxicity (poisoning) tests.