Civil society, industry and Members of the European Parliament call on the European Commission to include animal testing in the REACH Impact Assessment and do more to support non-animal methods
Monday 12 July: In a joint statement released today, Cruelty Free Europe and Cefic call on the European Commission to uphold the REACH principles of animal testing as a last resort as a staging post towards its ultimate replacement, and to do more to promote non animal methods. Both organisations are now looking to the Commission to include animal testing in the REACH impact assessment and to step up its actions to support non-animal methods.
The joint statement has already been warmly welcomed by several cross-party Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who expressed appreciation for this joint action between animal protection stakeholders and industry. In a recent discussion with Cefic and Cruelty Free Europe, MEPs acknowledged that continuing to rely on animal tests rather than cutting-edge scientific advances will hold back achievement of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) and the overarching goals of the EU Green Deal to better protect people and the environment from exposure to hazardous chemicals and to develop safe and sustainable alternatives.
MEPs recalled how the Parliament’s Resolution on the CSS underlined the need to minimise and progressively replace animal testing through an expanded use of new approach methodologies, as well as to increase efforts and funding for establishing fast, reliable and robust non-animal-based safety assessments.
MEP Maria Spyraki (EPP, EL) expressed her disappointment that Parliament’s requests had not yet been heard: “The Strategy lacks any commitment to increase funding to develop non-animal approaches for chemical safety evaluation and lacks measures to ensure the European Chemicals Agency has a mandate to promote non-animal approaches and dedicated resources to do so.”
MEP Tilly Metz (Greens, LU) added that “the paradigm shift that the Chemicals Strategy is announcing is not happening when it comes to animal welfare.”
Animal testing can be unreliable, slow and costly. Additional information requirements that are dependent on animal tests will create a further, unnecessary burden on industry, results will not come fast enough to ensure rapid regulatory action, and importantly, due to their inherent unreliability and lack of validity, the results will be inconclusive, potentially leaving harmful chemicals on the market or harmless chemicals being restricted.
It was acknowledged by MEPs that a shift in regulators’ mindsets to one which more readily accepts non-animal methods is urgently needed.
Commenting on the unreliable results of animal testing, MEP Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP, FI) made clear “human safety and animal welfare need to go hand in hand; animal tests are not always the best proxy for human safety.”
MEP Jutta Paulus (Greens, DE) accounted her experience working in laboratories: “The amount of time to align in vitro tests to [outdated] animal models is incredibly long and unjustified. And we need a more intelligent way of designing chemicals from the start so that they are benign by design.”
Cruelty Free Europe and Cefic call on the Commission to develop a clear and coherent plan to fund and promote non animal testing methods (NAMs) at EU and international level and to increase efforts for regulatory acceptance and implementation of those NAMs in which industry and the EU have already invested.
To contact Cruelty Free Europe:
Martin Mallon, Public Relations Manager
+44 (0) 7590 055 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Cruelty Free Europe
Cruelty Free Europe is a dynamic network of animal protection groups with a presence at the heart of EU decision-making, working to bring animal testing to an end across Europe and beyond.. www.crueltyfreeeurope.org
To contact Cefic:
Heather Kiggins, Communications Manager
+32.486697667 or email@example.com.
Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, founded in 1972, is the voice of large, medium and small chemical companies across Europe, which provide 1.1 million jobs and account for 15% of world chemicals production. www.cefic.org