Thousands of Dogs and Other Animals Spared Cruel Chemical Tests in Europe

HSI celebrates largest animal test reduction in history

Humane Society International

  • No more year-long dog poisoning studies. Viorel Sima/shutterstock

STRASBOURG, France—Humane Society International/Europe is celebrating a change in European law on biocides, non-food pesticides, that will save tens of thousands of dogs, rabbits and rodents from painful and lethal chemical poisoning tests.

Currently, as many as 6,000 animals may be killed to test a single new biocide chemical for products such as insect-repellant and anti-bacterial agents [1]. Now, thanks to two years of dedicated lobbying led by HSI Europe, European Institutions have agreed to slash biocide animal testing requirements by as much as 40 percent, including deleting the notorious year-long dog-poisoning study [2].

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Troy Seidle, director of research & toxicology for Humane Society International/Europe, said: “We’ve achieved an unprecedented transition away from tick-box animal testing in favour of modern and more efficient approaches to safety assessment through Europe’s incoming biocides regulation. EU politicians are to be commended for their support for safety science that is more humane and fit for the twenty-first century.”

Animal test victories:

  • 12-month dog-poisoning study: gone
  • Lethal dose skin, inhalation and injection tests on rabbits and other animals: no longer a strict requirement
  • First-in-the-world legal acceptance of test methods/strategies that reduce animal use by 40 to 70 percent for skin allergy, fertility and birth defects, and other health concerns
  • Systematic move away from testing that uses more than one animal species and/or route of exposure
  • New legal text encouraging companies to combine two or more toxicity evaluations into a single test instead of conducting separate animal tests.

Dogs, rabbits, rodents, birds and fish are all commonly used in biocides 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 Commission first proposed a revision of the EU Biocides Directive in 2009. Following today’s plenary vote by the European Parliament the text, which has already been approved by Council of Minsters’ negotiators, will go forward for formal adoption by the Council in the coming months.


Notes to Editor:

 1. A biocidal product is a non-food pesticide.

 2. A final Plenary vote in the European Parliament took place on 19 January in Strasbourg.

Humane Society International/Europe and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations—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 programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at

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