Industry commits to reduce animal testing

Major chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, crop protection and cosmetics companies have agreed on an action plan aiming to reduce animal testing by finding alternative methods through R&D.

As a follow-up on the November 2005 3Rs declaration, the EPAA‘s major companies in the area of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, crop protection and cosmetics committed themselves, on 21 June 2006, to an action programme promoting the replacing, reducing and refining animal use for assessing safety of consumer products. 

With this action programme, the different industries are engaged to co-operate on a number of activities in fields such as research, validation of alternative test methods and sharing best practice.

“We know from public opinion surveys that animal rights are very close to the hearts of Europeans. Through research we can develop ways of offering consumers a greater choice of products that have not been tested on animals,” said Science and Research Commissioner Janez Poto?nik.

At the same occasion, the Commission tabled common-criteria European guidelines for labelling cosmetics as “not tested on animals”, when no animal tests have been carried out in product development. The aim is to ensure that labels do not mislead the consumer or lead to unfair competition.

The Commission and industry said in a joint statement that "the adoption of this ambitious action programme clearly shows our commitment to pool resources and to work together to drive research forward in this crucial area. The refinement, reduction and replacement of animal testing is the goal of all members of the partnership, and we hope that the publication of this programme will encourage others to work with us."

Animal rights groups have welcomed the plan, but think that faster action is needed to end animal suffering.

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA), bringing together the Commission and a number of industry associations, was created in November 2005 in the Europe goes alternative -conference. 

In the conference, the Commission and the industry representatives agreed on a 3 Rs Declaration, aiming at replacing, reducing or refining (3 Rs) animal use to assess safety by applying alternative methods enabled by advanced methodologies from biosciences and medicine.

  • Reports on the implementation of the activities of the action programme will be presented in an EPAA conference on 18 December 2006.

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