New report supports dropping one year dog test requirement for pesticides in Japan

Government adoption would make South Korea the last major economy to require the long term dog test for agrochemicals

Humane Society International

  • arenacreative/istock

Humane Society International welcomes the findings of a scientific report commissioned by the Japanese Food Safety Commission, indicating that there is sufficient evidence to waive the longstanding government requirement for one-year repeated dosing test in beagle dogs for pesticide assessment, under certain conditions.

If the Commission and pesticide regulators in the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries adopt the report’s recommendation, this controversial animal test would move one step closer to global abolition, having already been removed as a routine requirement in the United States, European Union, India, Brazil, Canada, Australia and China.

Troy Seidle, senior director of HSI’s Research & Toxicology Department, said, “The science has spoken, and clearly shows that the continued routine use of dogs in long-term pesticide poisoning tests is both inhumane and unnecessary for consumer protection. We commend the Japanese government for its foresight in commissioning this scientific review, and are hopeful that authorities will now take steps to implement the recommendations of this report.”

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  • In this test, groups of beagle dogs are administered a daily dose of a pesticide chemical, either by force-feeding of a capsule or via food laced with a pesticide, for an entire year, after which the animals are killed and dissected to examine the chemical’s effects on their internal organs.
  • The commissioned report analyzed Japanese government safety assessments of 286 pesticides and found that in nearly 95 percent of cases, the long-term dog study did not contribute essential information to the determination of a safe dose for humans beyond what was available from other standard tests.
  • Registration of a single new pesticide “active ingredient” (the poisonous component that makes it effective) in Japan and other countries consumes 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 report identified a few, extremely rare situations in which the long-term dog test could still be required by Japanese authorities, including cases in which dogs are substantially more sensitive to the pesticide chemical than other animal species.

The report “Research project no. 1501: A proposal on a new stepwise assessment method for toxicity tests that takes into account species differences in ’toxicity profiles’ and ’amounts causing toxicity onset’ for pesticide testing: the necessity of chronic toxicity tests on dogs and carcinogenicity tests on mice” is available online (Japanese).

Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras,