4 October 2005: the EU's Environment Committee will vote on REACH

REACH is the new regulation on chemicals that is destined to create a surge of circa 4 million extra animals used in tests in the EU. Today Animal Defenders International (ADI) releases a hard-hitting report with evidence to show why the acute toxicity tests in the REACH proposal should adopt a non-animal approach.

Earlier this year, ADI put its non-animal testing strategy for REACH to the European Commission, the Parliament, and the Council of Ministers (via the UK Government).

GREEN MEP Caroline Lucas has campaigned for non-animal tests to be incorporated within the REACH Chemicals Regulation, rather than animal tests.

"Replacing animal experiments with modern non-animal alternatives is not simply an animal rights issue - it will improve the effectiveness of toxicity testing and benefit the protection of human health and the environment," said Dr Lucas, who has tabled 20 amendments to toxicity tests in the proposed REACH directive, which will be debated at the Environment Committee.

"Existing animal tests have never been validated to modern standards and, as well as being extremely cruel, are slower and more expensive than non-animal alternatives," she added.

One important issue that has been debated this week in the other committees talking about REACH, is the addition of yet another animal test requirement, for acute toxicity.

To argue the case for a non-animal alternative, ADI has produced another report called KEEP ANIMALS OUT OF REACH: Acute Toxicity Testing. This focuses on an acute toxicity test on rats that was conducted by Inveresk laboratories on behalf of Hempel's Marine Paints A/S, Denmark. In this test, for the toxic effects of anti-fouling paint for use on the bottom of boats, rats were forced to inhale the paint in an experiment which caused them substantial and prolonged suffering.

ADI's latest report points out:
such tests should not have been allowed to continue
that the REACH regulations will have to be enforced, which stipulate that - if ingredients are already tested or already known to be toxic are present in a product like this paint - then animal tests should not proceed
the test does not deliver the required human or environmental safety information required
a superior non-animal strategy should be used

ADI is calling on its supporters to lobby their MEPs asking them to vote against an additional animal test support non-animal strategy. To send an e-card, visit http://navs.org.uk/action/supporter_area/reach_2.htm

An executive summary of the acute toxicity report is available at http://www.navs.org.uk/download_files/vivisection/acutetox_execsummary.pdf

The full report can be viewed at http://www.navs.org.uk/download_files/vivisection/acutetox_briefing.pdf

Jan Creamer
Chief Executive
Animal Defenders International
261 Goldhawk Road
tel. +44 (0)20 8846 9777
fax. +44 (0)20 8846 9712