15 February 2008

DawnWatch: Breakthrough agreement on animal testing -- USA Today and Guardian 2/15/08

It is a great pleasure to report that today DawnWatch can share a real milestone for the animals. The Friday, February 15 editions of USA Today and the UK's Guardian include articles headed, respectively, "Agreement could bring end to animal testing; Agencies will develop other methods" and "US to replace animals with robots in toxic chemical tests."

The USA Today article, by Elizabeth Weise (pg 4A) opens with:

"An ambitious program announced Thursday by a coalition of government agencies could lead to the end of animal testing to evaluate the safety for humans of new chemicals and drugs.

"Three agencies -- the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program and the National Institutes of Health -- have signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' to develop and implement the new methods. The collaboration is described in today's edition of the journal Science."

HSUS's Martin Stephens is quoted, calling the agreement a "milestone" and saying,
"We believe this is the beginning of the end for animal testing. We think the (conversion) process will take about 10 years."

The article tells us:
"The Humane Society and other activist groups have long protested the use of animals to test the safety of chemicals, particularly those used in cosmetics and other personal products. The agencies noted that the public's 'unease' with animal testing, in addition to a growing number of new chemicals and high testing costs, fueled the new collaboration."

I take this opportunity to send out heartfelt thanks to every person who has ever publicly expressed that unease.

We learn that, "The EPA has begun evaluating 300 chemicals using the new methods."

And also
"All the data produced will be put into a public database."

That is a breakthrough as too often various companies test the same chemicals over and over again -- historically on animals.

You'll find the full article on line at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-02-14-animal-tests_N.htm

The Guardian article, by Alok Jha (pg 15) discusses the current extent of animal testing:

"According to the Home Office, more than 3.1m experiments in the UK were carried out on animals in 2006. Of these more than 420,000 were done to test the safety of chemicals. According to the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), more than 100 million animals are used annually in experiments in the US, of which 15 million are used in toxicity tests."

It tells us that "if successful the robots could test a greater number of chemicals more quickly" and that
"The results of the research could have implications for the EU's Reach legislation, which requires retesting all synthetic chemicals used in member countries. Critics are worried that the new rules will increase the number of animals used."

You'll find the full Guardian article on line at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/sep/20/animalrights.politicalnews

The Guardian takes letters at letters@guardian.co.uk and advises, "We do not publish letters where only an email address is supplied; please include a full postal address and a reference to the relevant article. If you do not want your email address published, please say so. We may edit letters."

USA Today takes letters at http://tinyurl.com/hvsuz

This is no time to stop expressing public "unease" with animal testing. But today we can do it with appreciation for at least this wonderful step in the right direction. Please send letters to the editor.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

Please go to www.ThankingtheMonkey.com to read advance reviews of Karen Dawn's new book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals” and watch the fun celebrity studded promo video.