Congress sends landmark bill to reduce animal use in chemical testing to Obama

By on June 8, 2016 with 69 Comments

Last night, the Senate gave final approval to a bill that revamps a 40-year-old federal law regulating the use of chemicals. The bill contains – for the first time in any broader environmental and health protection statute – an explicit decree from Congress to minimize animal testing and to create a clear preference for the development and use of alternative methods and strategies. The section of the bill relating to animal testing, championed by Senators Cory Booker, D-NJ, and David Vitter, R-La. – and strongly supported by Senators Tom Udall, D-NM, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and committee ranking member Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. – was its own hard-fought battle, and the inclusion of this language will almost certainly accelerate the movement away from animal tests for chemicals, pesticides, biocides, cosmetics, and other potentially dangerous substances in risk assessment protocols or for safety substantiation.

Once President Obama signs this legislation, as he is expected to do in the next few days, it gives the Environmental Protection Agency an unmistakable mandate from Congress that it must continue to embrace 21stcentury science and wean itself off outdated animal testing protocols, which are expensive, slow, and often non-predictive of the human circumstance. I wrote recently that the EPA is dramatically decreasing animal tests for pesticide hazard assessments, and is now working to replace animal tests in its endocrine screening program. In fact, in 2016, the EPA proposed to waive skin lethal dose tests for pesticide formulations.

The National Institutes of Health, the largest funder of biomedical research in the world, has allocated tens of millions more in funding to the development of non-animal methods and approaches, and this work will build on the battery of non-animal-testing methods already in use and increasingly widely accepted by scientists. In testimony before a key Senate panel this year, NIH director Francis Collins  predicted “that ten years from now, safety testing for newly developed drugs as well as assessment of the potential toxicity of numerous environmental exposures will be largely carried out using human biochips that are loaded with cells accurately representing heart, liver, kidney, muscle, brain and other tissues. This approach, made possible by the dramatic development of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells), will mostly replace animal testing for drug toxicity and environmental sensing, giving results that are more accurate, at lower cost, and with higher through-put.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a consensus body of 36 member nations, has embraced the concept of using the best new techniques and approaches for risk assessment, and that will also accelerate the move away from animal testing on the international stage.

To be sure, this is a global movement, and there is progress on many fronts. In 2013, the European Union banned cosmetic animal testing and trade, and India followed suit the next year.  Earlier this week, we announced that Australia will soon join that club.

We are making gains in other domains where animal testing has long been a feature of risk assessment. In 2012, our Humane Society International team in Europe worked to reduce animal testing requirements, perhaps by as much as 50 percent, for risk assessment for pesticide and biocides. We’ve also succeeded in convincing Brazil, Canada, the EU, and India to delete the requirement for a notorious one-year dog pesticide-poisoning study requirement (the United States deleted the requirement back in 2007).

In the past year HSI also convinced the EU to adopt animal replacement methods for skin/eye irritation, skin allergy, skin lethal dose testing and a reduced animal use test for reproductive toxicity under its chemicals law – potentially sparing 2.6 million animals the effects of these painful tests, while the Indian health ministry banned repeat animal testing of new drug imports.

In all, there is evidence around the globe that a combination of moral intention to reduce and eliminate animal testing and new technologies that give us superior options are ushering in a new paradigm in the realm of safety testing and drug efficacy work. This is the humane economy in action. The long-established practice of poisoning animals for a variety of purposes is on the way out, and it will be replaced by human biology that will give us better results and not leave a trail of animal victims in our wake. The language in the TSCA reform legislation to be signed by President Obama is the latest and, in some ways, the clearest evidence of this trend. For that reason, this legislation may be the most important animal protection gain in the entire 114th Congress.

Categories
Animal Research and Testing, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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69 Comments

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  1. Diana Maloney says:

    I am 74 years old and in my wildest dreams I did not think I would see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding animal testing. For years I have been spreading the word about the necessity of reading labels, and only using products that have not been tested on animals.

  2. Wendy Fuchs says:

    This is wonderful news! Thank you for sharing and thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication to ending this needless suffering! I always try to buy cruelty free but sometimes the alternatives are just not there or I don’t know such a product used animal experimentation in their testing.
    Really- such great news- thanks for all you do!!

  3. Carol says:

    Prayers…

  4. K Schenk says:

    Hi Wayne. This is great news but would be even more great if the bill TOTALLY eliminated animal testing. The wording you use here —

    “The bill contains – for the first time in any broader environmental and health protection statute – an explicit decree from Congress to minimize animal testing and to create a clear preference for the development and use of alternative methods and strategies.”

    uses “minimize” not eliminate. In fact, this minimization is already in force for most companies due to public outcry and their own consciences. But, the bill will certainly bring this inhumane use of animals much greater visibility.

  5. Jeanne Loske says:

    FINALLY……..Animals will be treated with the respect that they deserve….I hate when people say…”it’s just an animal” ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS and they do suffer much at the hands of man. God made them to live with us and have domain over them, which means we are to take care of them that cannot take care of themselves. HUGE VICTORY! Test on criminals and the scum of the earth that without a doubt had done some Heinous crime against the innocent human or animal..

  6. Melissa Sangenario says:

    We don’t really need animal testing in the 20th century.I’m glad that this is the end of the cruelty.

  7. Lisa Holsonback says:

    Please END the Chemical use on animals. Id love all animal testing to end .. THANKYOU, end the suffering.

  8. Mariam Nalbandyan says:

    Yes!!! I’m so happy I’m tearing, awesome news. This just made my year!!!

  9. Lanette collins says:

    When will this legislation be forced into place?

  10. Rita Kleb says:

    Eine erfreuliche, begrüßenswerte und längst überfällige Entscheidung, sich von den grausamen, schmerzhaften und überwiegend sinnlosen Tierversuchen verabschieden zu wollen.
    Besten Dank an Präsident Obama, der dieses Gesetz unterzeichnen wird.

  11. Kathy says:

    This is so amazing. Thank you for hard work. I pray this bill is passed. It has always sicks me to even think of the way animals are tested.

  12. Andrea says:

    Fantastic news! Let’s hope that China will do the same

  13. Nancy J chorey says:

    Thank God

  14. Laurie LaFountaine says:

    This is wonderful news. Thank you HSUS for all your hard work and time dedicated to this issue.

  15. Steve Solomon says:

    This is a momentous achievement! Any protections for animals is wonderful news to all of us animal lovers!

  16. Susan B Johnson says:

    BRAVO!

  17. Vic Hoffmann says:

    A bill that will save tens of thousands of animals from painful chemical testing each year is now on its way to President Obama’s desk? Really?
    Can you please explain why it has taken this long to do? A bill saving tens of thousands of animals from painful chemical testing should be sent to Obama repeatedly until he signs it. It disgusts me that there organizations like this who make sound like you are doing such a great job when in fact, you are doing very little. Also, explain why the CEO’s of organizations like this need to earn multiple six figure incomes???? People donate money to help animals, not fatten the pockets of the CEO’s!

    • DD says:

      Please do your research before bashing an animal welfare org that you OBVIOUSLY know NOTHING about.

      And WHY are you reading HSUS’ blog then? A troll I take it.

      Lastly, Wayne Pacelle has spent his entire adult life working on behalf of animals and works 24/7. He runs a massive philanthropic nonprofit and deserves EVERY dollar he makes!

    • slr biz says:

      Well said–this legislation is long overdue, but it needs to completely stop this testing. I remember PETA and Bob Barker and an anti-vivisection group fighting against animal abuse back in the early 1990’s, and only in 2016 we get this mediocre legislation. Nonetheless, I am grateful for this beginning to a more civilized, kinder world, at least in America–hopefully, the rest of the world will follow suit. I agree that many organizations overpay their leaders with the donations of people that make a fraction of the salaries bestowed upon their management team. That being said, a decent, fair salary is appropriate for all and hard work and accomplishments should be rewarded.

      It really is disheartening to see this misuse of donations that is rationalized away in countless organizations and charities….I have read the excuses, but they do not fly, but are only embraced by those without much of a conscience.

      Check out Charity Navigator on the internet to get the low-down on most organizations.

  18. Anonymous says:

    How do we report cases of animal testing cruelty that do not follow the laws? I heard of a Tufts research project going on now that is testing on mice by giving them herpes and then cutting their eyes out while they are still alive. Legally they are supposed to be under enough euthanasia so they will not feel tortured, but they are given such small amounts while they are having their eyes cut out, that the mice wake up and are fully aware of what is happening as their eyes are being removed.

    I am just one person who does not know much about how to stop this, but the idea of it is giving me nightmares! Please help those mice!!! They count as living animals too and do not deserve to die as someone is cutting their eyes out of their faces!!!

    • Ashley says:

      Omg that sounds awful… I wish the same would be done to the people who are doing this to the mice! Who ever does this has no empathy and is a waste of space on this earth!

    • Meg says:

      Thank you for telling about this; I’d suggest calling the press, the university president and all of your elected representatives. Maybe post it on Facebook?

      • P J S says:

        Meg – Great idea about posting it on Facebook, that’s most definitely a very public forum. Like you, I also suggested TV & newspapers

    • Ayla says:

      “enough euthanasia”? Enough euthanasia would mean they are dead. So in order to report cases of animal cruelty, you need to know what you are talking about and the correct terminology. Are you saying they mean to euthanize (kill) the mice but do not properly perform that? You need to go to the facilities IACUC. A facilities IACUC manages all of the animal procedures and if the study calls for the animals to be euthanized before a procedure, the animals need to be euthanized properly before a procedure. Of course a PI can simply lie to the IACUC and tell them it was done properly. It’s very easy to do.

      • P J S says:

        Ayla – I agree that if one is going report a wrong, especially in a public forum, one may be taken more seriously if one uses the correct terminology & knows what your talking about.
        I tend to think that Anonymous probably meant to say anesthesia.

    • P J S says:

      Dear Anonymous – I think a good place to start on reporting these so-called “scientists” would be to call every newspaper & TV station that operates in your area (or the university’s area) and strongly urge them to do an investigative report on this atrocity. Calling them out publicly may get their attention. Call the President of the university & demand that he take action to correct this. If they receive govt grants $$ there are at least some minimum animal welfare rules they are supposed to adhere to. Tell the univ Pres that you are going to report them to the FDA, file a complaint with the Dept of Agriculture.

  19. Jon barker says:

    The grateful passage of this bill has been long overdue . Hopefully this will set the gears in motion to stop all forms of animal cruelty including but not limited to cosmetic, medical, industrial and chemical testing. In addition America should prevent importations of items tested upon all animals. Without compassion for all life forms , peace among men will never be possible. Many of our most respected minds have clearly stated that until man accepts the fact that animals are no longer needed for clothing, food, travel, labor and entertainment , mankind shall never evolve. In this 21st century, we must do away with anachronistic methods and values. Society is breeding people who either turn a blind eye to the taking of lives or worse are unaffected by such. Life is invaluable in all forms. Kindness and compassion towards all life forms is essential if mankind is to survive upon this earth. A huge thank you to those politicians that have taken a stand towards bettering the future.

  20. Liliana orozco says:

    God bless this asociation for what you guys do. Question.. why they dont remove the law istead of reducing the test on animals?

  21. Nancy says:

    Yeah!!!!! It is about time!!!! Thank you for all you do, The Humane Society, to make things like this wonderful news happen!!!

  22. Cynthia Earle says:

    This is fabulous! What a turn in the right direction! Thank you for all your work towards this achievement! I’m thrilled!

  23. riot says:

    les martyrs qui pleurent de leurs cries d angoisse ne doivent plus être des choses mais bien mes saintes soeurs et frères d autres espèces.

  24. Andy Sayles says:

    Please ban or at least limit the use of animals in testing medications for use by humans. There are plenty of computer models or test directly on humans.

  25. SallyAnn says:

    This is great news! I’m so happy.

  26. Marc Hoyos says:

    I never thought I would see the light of day this would happen. We have a place here in Reno, NV (Charles River) that does just that “Test on Animals” I have driven by that place for 25 years and BOOOOOOOOOOOO’d it every time. Thank you to the team of people that are making this a dream come true.

  27. AVIS HOLT says:

    This is very encouraging news. A step in the right direction, for sure. Let’s pray that this will continue and at a much faster pace now.

  28. Lisa says:

    I AM SO GLAD THAT THE DISGUSTING TREATMENT OF ANIMALS FOR ANY KIND OF TESTING HAS HOPEFULLY COME TO AN END…WE DON’T NEED IT

  29. Francesco says:

    la strada giusta

    the right way

  30. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much! After taking so much time throughout the day reading and signing petitions about the horrid burdens man is putting upon the animals of this earth, it is nice to be able to have something like this good news to smile about at days end.

  31. Adela says:

    Finally, someone cares about important topics and humane condition instead of wasting it on useless things such as some I have come across.

  32. Mary Ann says:

    So happy to hear this finally!

  33. Ronald L says:

    I’m so glad to hear that many laboratory animals will be spared from being tortured/tested on. Let’s hope that they will actually stop animal testing and actually enforce it. Mr. President, please sign this bill into law, ASAP. Thank you.

  34. Danielle White says:

    How wonderful 🙂 .
    So proud to be a small part of educating those within my circle about the disgusting vile cruelty that is animal testing. They don’t deserve it. It’s not our fundamental human right to torture living creatures that Creator created. We should be protecting, loving and nurturing all life around us, the life upon this Earth that’s been entrusted to our care. Well done to all who’ve spread truth and fought against this heinous cruelty.

  35. Victoria says:

    Thank God! It’s about time we become a kinder nation in all aspects to the animal kingdom. All Animal testing needs to be banned. We also have to find a way to stop killing our animal’s in the pounds!!!

    Thank You for this GREAT NEWS!

  36. Julie says:

    This is fantastic news. Congratulations to HSU and all the other supporters and activists who helped move this important legislation forward.

  37. Nooshin Perla says:

    My God the BEST news I could hear to day! THANY YOU. I have been crying about this abuse for years now. Now I am crying, but because I am HASPPY!!!!!!

  38. Karen Wall says:

    This is wonderful news! I look forward to more common products being cruelty free and not sold only in high priced specialty stores.

  39. Ayla says:

    In regards to the NIH, it is BS. I have heard an NIH animal facility manager tell it’s employees to support animal research because “without it, you would not have jobs”. So simply put, they should not support alternative methods simply so they can have a job torturing animals. Nice.

    • P J S says:

      AYLA – OMG, that animal testing facility manager that you heard saying that is not only a really horrid person for supporting cruelty & pressuring his employees to do the same; but also very ignorant. Apparently he couldn’t wrap his tiny little brain around the idea that the new tissue type testing will require people too

  40. Fabiola says:

    How many Harvard Research Or any University has Kill so many Innocents Monkeys or any animals in the name of science for years and years has been keep so secrets and the laboratory are very top secret and nobody tells or count the dead ” ANIMAL ” That has been use for testing.
    We are taking Live Creatures Innocent little beautiful Monkeys , rats, Rabbits ., ETC.
    This has to end.
    FINALLY.!????

  41. Andrea-Unbridled Companion says:

    This is long overdue! So glad that people are finally stepping up for animals. Be the change!

  42. Marty Stokes says:

    Thank God! Many prayers are being answered. And thank the Society and all the supporters for finally changing the hearts and minds of, at least, some Legistrators. I’m proud to be a member. We must be vigilant to assure the changes are, in fact, put into action in a timely fashion and not put on the back burner or forgotten. I’m confident the HSUS will be there, as you always are, monitoring the progress. Thank you for the good news.

  43. BJ says:

    So good to hear! Thank God that finally, animals will be spared the horrific torture that goes into animal testing! It can’t happen soon enough! Very grateful to all those who made it happen!

  44. Stephanie Kirkbride says:

    Maybe it would be a great help if the president was to read all of our comments. Or for him to picture his own pet being used for testing. Just because it is not your pet does not make it any less painful.
    Mr. President, please look at some pictures of this horrific act and what these helpless animals have to endure. I can guarantee you would pass the bill then.
    This senseless testing does not have to be ‘minimzed’..it has to be stopped.
    Thank you.

  45. Mary Joseph says:

    Onward.voices for the voiceless
    May all the saints and and sages of the ages rejoice
    in these steps up a heavenly bridge that will bring down heavenly rewards to
    mankind. Earths gentle creatures becoming free to shine in their God
    given persuit of liberty, justice, and freedom from abuse. What a cosmic
    battle won for animals and a 4 th of July celebration for all of our furry
    friends. China…..may there be power in our combined prayers that they
    leave the valley and ascend to the top with us !

  46. Eileen Frohnen says:

    This is great news but this seems to only be about testing biocides and pesticides on animals (not that that is not something to celebrate because it is!), but I want to know about the testing that is done on animals for every new beauty, skin care, etc. products that come out. I was told by a Loreal rep that they are REQUIRED to test on animals by the FDA. Why does this have to be? Don’t they have tons of ingredients that they already know are safe that they can make new products with? Oh, but we just have to come out with a new mascara with a new ingredient that has to be tested on innocent, helpless animals, don’t we, just so we can make more money. It’s disgusting. I have a list of companies that test on animals and I don’t buy anything made by those companies. I also have a list of companies that don’t test on animals…I make sure I buy only their products. Everyone should be doing the same. Put your money where your mouth is….that is how we the people can make changes that will protect animals, by not buying products from companies that test on animals.

  47. Kathryn Styer says:

    WE HAVE TREATED OUR ANIMALS IN SUCH AN ATROCIOUS MANNER, IT’S EMBARRASSING AND DISGRACEFUL.

    CONGRESS FINALLY OPENED THEIR EYES AND DID THE RIGHT THING!!!

    IT’S ABOUT TIME.
    “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi

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