The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pledged to eliminate all requests for and funding of toxic tests on mammals by 2035. This directive was signed by EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler. He promised to aggressively reduce animal testing and funding 30% by 2025. He also announced that $4.25 million will be given to advance research of non-animal alternatives for testing the safety of chemicals. He mentioned computer modeling and in vitro methods which involves tests using human cells and tissues as part of the alternatives.
According to Science Magazine, this makes EPA the first federal agency to set a deadline for tests. This move has drawn strong reactions from groups anb individuals opposing or supporting the directive. Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy at the White Coat Waste Project says “This is the most comprehensive and aggressive plan in U.S history to cut government animal testing and I think it’s going to be the gold standard for other agencies”.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has said it is a mistake to scale back animal testing and EPA’s decision is more about reducing costs of animal testing for chemical companies than about helping animals.
Amy Clippinger, director of the people for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ regulation testing department said “For decades, there has been a misguided reliance on cruel and scientifically flawed animal tests, and the EPA’s decision marks the beginning of the end of them.
Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist for the NRDC’s Healthy People and Thriving Community program says, “Phasing out foundational scientific testing methods can make it harder to identify toxic chemicals and protect human health”. She’s concerned EPA’s decision will give chemical industry which will need to develop its own non-animal alternatives, too much control over these technology.
Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society’s Legislative Fund said “This is the science that is being realized right now and will be the science of the future that will truly protect public health and environment.