BRASILIA—Humane Society International has welcomed sweeping animal welfare reforms to regulations governing the testing of agricultural pesticides in Brazil, including abolition of a controversial year-long poisoning test in dogs, recognition of modern animal testing alternatives, and creation of a process by which companies can request that scientifically unnecessary animal test requirements be waived. These and other reforms were published on 29 July by Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) in RDC n. 294, replacing a nearly 30-year-old testing ordinance from 1992.
Publication of the new regulation has been delayed for years, so the test has remained an official requirement until now, despite HSI’s success in negotiating for the removal of the one-year dog test from a 2015 draft. A 2018 undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States found more than 30 beagles in a U.S. laboratory being used to test a pesticide for sale in Brazil, which the company defended on the grounds that the test is still officially “on the books.” Following intervention by HSI, ANVISA agreed to grant a waiver for the pesticide, and the company agreed to stop the test and release the surviving dogs – all of whom have now been adopted into loving homes.
Antoniana Ottoni, government relations manager for HSI in Brazil, said: “Today we celebrate the abolition of cruel year-long dog poisoning tests for pesticides in Brazil and worldwide. This and other changes to Brazilian regulations are a life-saving victory for animals, yet it’s disgraceful that it’s taken authorities 20 years to take action after the uselessness of the dog test was recognized by scientists. This underscores the need for increased dialogue and cooperation with authorities, industry and NGOs like HSI to ensure that continued progress doesn’t take another 20 years.”
HSI began negotiations with ANVISA around pesticide reform in Brazil in 2013, hosting a regulatory science workshop, a webinar and high-level meetings with agency scientists and executive leadership. In response to lengthy delays in publishing the new regulation, HSI launched in 2017 the campaign #AnvisaPoupeVidas, collecting over 160,000 signatures in a matter of weeks, calling for swift action by ANVISA.
- Pesticides are among the most heavily animal-tested substances in existence. For a registration of a single new pesticide “active ingredient” (the poisonous component that makes it effective), it is used on as many as 10,000 rodents, fish, birds, rabbits and dogs in dozens of separate chemical-poisoning tests. Many of these tests are overtly redundant, repeating the same test procedure using two or more different animal species or routes of exposure (oral, inhalation, skin, etc.), the scientific value of which has come under intense scrutiny.
- The one-year dog toxicity test consists of force-feeding groups of beagle dogs a pesticide chemical every day for an entire year, after which the animals are killed and dissected to examine the chemical’s effects on their internal organs. Based on sound scientific evidence that this long-term poisoning test is completely unnecessary for pesticides safety assessment, every other country that had previously required the test has dropped it.
- The main features of the new ANVISA norm include: 1) a formal waiver provision process through technical justification that will avoid new testing; 2) acceptance of animal testing alternatives recognized by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development; and 3) adoption of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.
Media contact: Antoniana Ottoni, firstname.lastname@example.org, +5561981403636