The HSUS and its affiliates have long worked to phase out cosmetic, chemical, and pesticide tests on animals. That work is grounded on a value system focused on preventing needless suffering of animals, but also on the principle that science and innovation can provide us with better, faster, and cheaper ways to do risk assessment and enhance human safety. The laboratory model of poisoning animals with high concentrations of toxic or potentially toxic compounds—either by force feeding, or applying substances to the eyes or skin of rabbits and other mammals—is archaic, unreliable, and cruel. Fortunately, there are better ways, and scientists and laboratories throughout the world are showing the new way forward, reminding us that a combination of moral intention and innovation can lead us into the new humane future.
In recognition of that work, the global home care company Lush has honored our animal research and testing issues team with awards—for training and lobbying—in recognition of our practical and effective efforts to replace animal testing with alternatives.
My colleagues, Dr. Catherine Willett, director of regulatory toxicology, risk assessment and alternatives with The HSUS, and Sara Amundson, executive director and senior vice president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), accepted those awards today in London.
Lush recognized the Human Toxicology Project (HTPC)—a coalition of corporate and non-profit organizations founded and coordinated by The HSUS—for its efforts to train scientists to use alternative methods for chemical safety tests. The HTPC created a free course to promote the concept and application of Adverse Outcome Pathways, or AOPs, a framework that describes the events that occur following chemical exposure. The course trains scientist to use a software package that lets them organize, combine, and assess biological information. When organized this way, the information helps scientists predict what will happen upon chemical exposure, as an alternative to testing a particular chemical on animals.
HSLF, with the support of The HSUS and along with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), received the second award for successfully lobbying to secure language to minimize and ultimately to eliminate animal testing, in a federal law regulating tens of thousands of chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, signed into law by President Obama in June 2016, upgraded the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and contains 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. Securing the passage of such a bill involved immense work, especially in a Congress that broke a record for passing so few legislative items.
Now that the law is on the books, HSLF and The HSUS are working closely together to promote proper implementation. Among other things, we advise the EPA on its implementation, lobby Congress to maintain funding for the research and development of non-animal science in the face of budget cuts, and work to ensure that the EPA and companies follow the law’s requirements to replace animals.
Lush Prize is a joint project between Lush Cosmetics and the Ethical Consumer Research Association (ECRA) and was founded in 2012 as a way of supporting initiatives to replace the use of animals in research. Prizes are awarded annually in Lobbying, Public Awareness, Science, Training, and Young Researchers, and each winner is awarded £50,000 (around $65,000). This year, more than 66 entries from 29 countries were submitted, and we are very honored to have received two of the prizes.
The HSUS and HSLF are about protecting all animals, and working to reduce animal testing and replace animal testing with alternate methods continues to be one of our highest priorities. We thank Lush for steering clear of all animal testing, for its generous support of non-animal methods research, and for joining us in the fight to close out the painful and often unproductive era of animal testing that claimed so many tens of millions of innocent lives.