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January 18, 2012

HSI Canada Calls for Swift Government Action to Reduce Reliance on Animal Testing by Implementing Findings of New Report

Thousands of dogs and other animals could be spared from pesticide tests in Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

  • A tested-on rabbit suffering. Photobucket

MONTRÉAL—Humane Society International/Canada welcomes a forward-looking report from the Council of Canadian Academies as an opportunity for Canada to dramatically reduce its reliance on animal testing, particularly in the pesticide sector. The report, Integrating Emerging Technologies into Chemical Safety Assessment, encourages Canadian authorities to embrace and integrate new technologies and approaches into current chemical testing practices.

“Overdosing animals with pesticide chemicals causes unimaginable pain and suffering yet produces results of uncertain relevance to the protection of human health,” says Troy Seidle, director of research & toxicology for Humane Society International. “It’s time for Canadian pesticide regulators to move away from tick-box animal testing in favour of modern and more efficient approaches to safety assessment. The Council of Canadian Academies expert panel is to be commended for its support for safety science that is more humane and fit for the twenty-first century.”

Currently, as many as 13,000 animals may be killed to test a single new pesticide chemical. Commonly required tests include “lethal dose 50 percent” studies, rabbit skin and eye irritation tests, repeated daily dosing studies lasting from one month to two years, and tests for cancer, reproductive, immunological and other disorders that each consume hundreds to thousands of animals apiece.

Dogs, rabbits, rodents, birds and fish are all commonly used in pesticide testing. The chemicals are injected into their blood, force-fed into their stomach and lungs, applied to their skin, or placed in their food and water. They can experience nausea, convulsions and death—all without pain relief.

The European Union is on the cusp of introducing major revisions to its regulatory framework for pesticides and biocides, which could reduce animal testing by as much as 40 percent. HSI/Canada will be meeting later this week with senior officials at Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to discuss opportunities to enhance regulatory alignment between the two regions, with emphasis on best practices for reducing unnecessary animal testing.

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Humane Society International/Canada 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 working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsicanada.ca.

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