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May 22, 2012

HSI and The HSUS Welcome Reductions in Pesticide Animal Testing Requirements by U.S. EPA

Humane Society International

  • The new EPA policies will spare thousands of animals from unnecessary suffering. iStock

WASHINGTON—Scientists from Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups are pleased that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will reduce animal testing requirements for pesticides. The policy changes announced by EPA in a May 2012 letter to HSI follow a recent move by the European Union to scale back its requirements for animal testing of non-food pesticides by up to 40 percent.  

“Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States welcome the EPA’s recent animal testing policy as a step in the right direction, but urges the agency to go further to bring U.S. pesticide regulations into line with the global scientific state-of-the-art and best practices concerning replacement, reduction and refinement of animal testing,” said Kate Willett, director of regulatory testing at The Humane Society of the United States. “Even though EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has been more responsive than other U.S. regulatory offices to concerns about using outdated testing methods that require animals, it has so far embraced only a small handful of available animal testing alternatives.” 

EPA regulations currently prescribe as many as two dozen different laboratory poisoning tests to evaluate the toxicity of a single new pesticide chemical, which can involve the use of approximately 10,000 dogs, rodents, rabbits, fish, birds and other animals. 

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EPA’s letter confirms the implementation of the following HSI recommendations:

  • Elimination of accumulation testing in fish for certain chemicals.
  • Agreement to allow combining two repeat-dose studies that will save more than 80 animals for every pesticide tested using this approach.
  • Agreement to adopt a 50 percent animal-reduction approach for skin allergy testing, both for finished pesticide products as well as their raw ingredients.
  • Establishment of a new committee to evaluate company requests to waive animal tests in order to ensure consistency in decision making in granting such waivers.

HSI and The HSUS continue to urge EPA to abandon animal testing requirements for single-dose lethal skin tests and mouse cancer tests, which have been shown to be without regulatory value in most instances; animal skin irritation tests, which can be fully replaced by non-animal approaches; and animal testing of finished products in general, which in many cases can be replaced with conservative mathematical calculation approaches.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – On the web at humanesociety.org.

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