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August 10, 2015

New ANVISA Acceptance of Non-Animal Tests is Welcomed by HSI Ahead of Brazil’s Pesticides Review

ANVISA urged to act quickly to spare 1000s of dogs, rabbits and other animals

Humane Society International

  • Beyond animal welfare benefits, there are also well-established scientific advantages to modern in vitro test methods. Viorel Sima/shutterstock

BRASILIA -- Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) has approved a new resolution to reduce and replace the use of animals for safety testing across regulated product sector for which it is responsible, including pesticides and cosmetics. Humane Society International’s research and toxicology team in Brasilia say ANVISA’s decision to accept 17 alternative tests could potentially spare thousands of animals if fully applied, and welcomes the move in advance of the Agency’s long-anticipated review of registration test requirements for pesticides, which are currently dominated by outdated and lethal animal tests. 

Antoniana Ottoni, legislative officer for HSI, said: “Brazil is the world’s largest market for pesticides, and yet ANVISA’s regulatory testing requirements haven’t been updated for more than 20 years and are now out of step with modern science. As a result, Brazilian consumers are not benefitting from the scientific state-of-the-art in terms of safety testing, and antiquated testing protocols are subjecting tens of thousands of dogs, rabbits and other animals to terrible and needless suffering. So Humane Society International is delighted at the formal recognition of these internationally-validated and scientifically superior non-animal test methods, and urges ANVISA to adopt them into its pesticides standards without delay.”  

Pesticides, such as herbicides, insect repellents and cleaning products that claim to “kill germs” are among the most animal tested products on the market. ANVISA regulations may require dozens of trials involving the chemical poisoning of thousands of animals. Some tests are repeated two or even three times using different species or routes of exposure such as forced feeding by mouth, forced inhalation and application to the skin. This means terrible suffering and death for thousands of rabbits, rodents, birds, fish, and dogs, for every new pesticide marketed.

Beyond animal welfare benefits, there are also well-established scientific advantages to modern in vitro test methods. Scientists and regulatory bodies around the world are acknowledging that animal tests have significant limitations, which can compromise their relevance for assessing human and environmental safety.

Swift action by ANVISA would bring Brazil more in line with the European Union, which recently updated its pesticides regulations following negotiations with HSI and pesticide companies. More than 80 amendments were made, which collectively have the potential to halve the number of animals used to test new biocidal active ingredients.

HSI has held several meetings with ANVISA to accelerate the acceptance of alternative tests, and in 2013 co-organized a pesticide regulatory science workshop to bring together key Brazilian stakeholders to work toward greater regulatory alignment with markets such as the EU, and more rapid uptake of in vitro methods approved by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which Brazil should accept automatically, as a signatory to its agreement on mutual acceptance of data.


Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 301.721.6440

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