Back in May, the ECEAE launched a new initiative to introduce animal testing alternatives for cosmetic products in China, and is now launching its latest campaign closer to home.
The catalyst to the latest crusade was a Germany-based chemicals manufacturer asking one of its member organizations, Doctors Against Animal Experiments Germany (DAAE), to provide advice on two animal tests that it was requested to conduct by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
Tests in question
The tests in question were long-term toxicity tests; a 90-day repeated dose test and a prenatal developmental toxicity test. More than 1,000 animals are usually used for this type of test.
The ECEAE provided comments on the proposals for these tests under its ongoing REACH testing proposals project, suggesting that the tests should not be carried out since the substance was not toxic and results from other similar tests were available
The ECHA did not agree and the registrant of the chemical accepted the need of the tests. After this the rights for the chemical were sold.
The new owner asked the ECEAE German member organization, DAAE, for additional help, which included finding yet more information on the substance, and now feels it has enough evidence to avoid doing the test.
The German authorities have agreed that the tests are unnecessary, meaning that if the Agency agrees with the new assessment, when it reviews it in 2014, then over 1,000 rats will be spared.
Absence of alternatives
“For two years [our] experts have been providing comments on proposals to test on animals which are submitted by industry to the ECHA,” says ECEAE.
The problem the organization is finding is the absence of animal testing alternatives currently available.
As well as concern over the lack of alternatives, campaigners also want the requirement to do additional testing even for products already tested elsewhere to be put in place.
According to ECEAE, this puts industry in a difficult position, since many products have been long accepted around the world and companies are reluctant to see further animal testing take place when the products are already known to be safe.