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June 20, 2008

Product Testing

Humane Society International/Europe

A large number of laws and regulations have been enacted worldwide to control the marketing of drugs, vaccines, food additives, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and other substances of potential toxicological concern.

Such regulations often prescribe a specific regime of toxicity testing to generate information that will enable government regulators to determine whether the benefits of a particular substance outweigh its risks to human health and/or the environment.

Government statistics indicate that product testing accounts for approximately eight percent of all animal use for scientific purposes. Yet the use of animals in product testing figures prominently in the animal experiments controversy. It raises issues such as the ethics and humaneness of deliberately poisoning animals (sometimes to death), the appropriateness of harming animals for the sake of marketing a new cosmetic or household product, the applicability of animal data to humans, and the possibility of sparing millions of animals by developing alternatives to a handful of widely used procedures.

Humane Society International (HSI) does not consider animal-based toxicity studies to be an ethical or scientifically credible means of evaluating potential hazards to human health, wildlife, or the environment we all share. HSI is working to promote greater reliance on available non-animal testing methods, and is actively supporting a landmark call by eminent scientists for fundamental changes to the way product testing is conducted—to move from animal tests that are decades old, costly, slow and of dubious relevance to people, to ultra-modern, efficient and human-relevant non-animal methods.

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