Breaking: European Parliament votes to phase out animal testing and research

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on September 16, 2021 with 0 Comments

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that calls on the European Commission to draw-up an action plan to phase out animal experiments. This is a momentous political victory in a region where recent setbacks have occurred for animals in laboratories.

Top on the list of setbacks is the revelation that the European Chemical Agency has disregarded the longstanding ban on animal testing for cosmetics by demanding additional animal data for dozens of cosmetic ingredients, which has already killed an estimated 25,000 animals. Humane Society International’s stop-motion short film “Save Ralph” has helped raise awareness on the fact that the public has been misled about the EU’s cosmetics ban.

Many more animals may die in painful toxicity tests if the European Commission implements its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment, which as proposed would further cement the EU’s “tick-box” approach to chemical hazard assessment based predominantly on animal testing. The Parliament’s resolution correctly points out that non-animal approaches based on human biology are the key to better assess chemical safety. That is one of the reasons why, in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has committed to phase-out its animal tests requirements by 2035, and the Humane Cosmetics Act is gathering steam in Congress.

The resolution in favor of an action plan to phase out animal testing was championed by HSI/Europe and other animal protection groups, leading European scientists and companies. The overwhelming cross-party support shown by Members of the European Parliament reflects the growing dismay felt toward recent actions and proposals by European Chemical Agency and the European Commission.

The resolution is a strong statement that covers all animal use for research, testing and education, a sobering reminder of the nearly 10 million animals used annually in European laboratories. Nearly 70% of these animals are used in biomedical research, an area where, according to statistics, little to no reduction has been achieved despite a 35-year-old legal requirement that animals must not be used where alternatives are available. Continued reliance on animals as a first resort cannot be justified or allowed to persist in light of the modern non-animal technologies like human organ-chips and next-generation computer models now available.

Recognizing that science has evolved, the Parliament is calling for deep, systemic changes, noting that phasing out animal experiments will require “preferential funding of non-animal methods across all EU research and innovation initiatives,” training scientists in novel approaches and supporting start-up companies offering and perfecting these methods.

Hastening the transition to human-focused approaches to testing and health research is in all our interests. EU parliamentarians should be applauded for their vision and leadership, and other nations are encouraged to follow suit.

Now, we need public voices to join our call to make sure the European Commission listens and delivers an ambitious and life-saving action plan.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Why fostering an animal is especially meaningful right now

By on September 15, 2021 with 0 Comments
Why fostering an animal is especially meaningful right now

COVID-19 has made the past year and a half challenging, difficult and painful for so many individuals and institutions across the world. The animal sheltering and rescue community is no exception. Last summer, as the pandemic worsened across the U.S., shelters responded by growing programs . . . 

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New law increases availability of service dogs for veterans with PTSD

By on September 13, 2021 with 2 Comments
New law increases availability of service dogs for veterans with PTSD

President Biden recently signed the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act (PAWS), which increases the number of service dogs available to support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions. We’re elated at the thought that more veterans will have access to the . . . 

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What the 9/11 search and rescue dogs show about our interdependence on animals

By on September 10, 2021 with 1 Comment
What the 9/11 search and rescue dogs show about our interdependence on animals

Twenty years ago, in the days after September 11, 2001, heroic first responders did the unthinkable task of going into the wreckage to search for signs of life. By their sides were the search and rescue dogs who, over the last two decades, have garnered . . . 

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A massive blow to puppy mill industry: Illinois ends the sale of puppies in pet stores

By on September 8, 2021 with 25 Comments
A massive blow to puppy mill industry: Illinois ends the sale of puppies in pet stores

In a major win in the fight against cruel puppy mills, Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed the Humane Pet Store Bill (HB 1711) into law. The state’s 21 puppy-selling pet stores have 180 days from August 27, the date the bill was signed, to . . . 

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In major win for animals, Mexico bans animal testing for cosmetics

By on September 7, 2021 with 3 Comments
In major win for animals, Mexico bans animal testing for cosmetics

Even in our age of advanced technologies, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and rats continue to have chemicals and substances forced down their throats, dripped into their eyes or slathered on their skin to satisfy new regulatory demands that undercut progress against cosmetic animal testing. That’s . . . 

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Breaking: Rescuers and police discover 150 pet shop animals in desperate need of help

By on September 2, 2021 with 1 Comment
Breaking: Rescuers and police discover 150 pet shop animals in desperate need of help

At a pet store located next to a flea market in Burnside, Kentucky, on Wednesday morning, members of our rescue team encountered nightmarish conditions for dozens of animals. The details of the scene were heartbreaking to hear. The air inside the store was musty and . . . 

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Breaking: Rescuers arrive to save dogs and puppies from dog meat farm

By on September 1, 2021 with 4 Comments
Breaking: Rescuers arrive to save dogs and puppies from dog meat farm

When residents reported hearing harrowing yelps and screams coming from a nearby farm on Jindo Island in South Korea, local authorities investigated. What they found were the typical heart-wrenching scenes of a dog meat farm. I am acquainted with sounds like these. When I have . . . 

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From “pet” cougars to flooding victims, animal rescue requires preparation

By on August 31, 2021 with 4 Comments
From “pet” cougars to flooding victims, animal rescue requires preparation

On Sunday, Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. Our Animal Rescue and Response team moved toward the strike zone, ready to assist animals in need. Bringing together supplies, equipment and personnel to support emergency response . . . 

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Dog meat traders to be prosecuted for the first time in Indonesian history

By on August 25, 2021 with 19 Comments
Dog meat traders to be prosecuted for the first time in Indonesian history

Indonesia’s first-ever prosecution of dog meat traders under animal health and food safety laws represents another milestone in the global campaign to protect dogs from being slaughtered for food. A district attorney on the island of Java recently confirmed plans to prosecute dog traders intercepted . . . 

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As assaults against wolves mount, Biden Administration misses the mark

By on August 23, 2021 with 2 Comments
As assaults against wolves mount, Biden Administration misses the mark

Our nation’s assault on wildlife has been going on for centuries, with a staggering toll of animal loss that dates back to our colonial past. Over those hundreds of years, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a more vilified and persecuted species than the wolf. Today, . . . 

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Termed out Wisconsin board chair plays politics with wolves’ lives in the balance

By on August 20, 2021 with 6 Comments
Termed out Wisconsin board chair plays politics with wolves’ lives in the balance

In every state where we’re working to protect wolves from trophy hunters and trappers, the political nature of the fight is obvious. But the tragic impacts of political gamesmanship involving wolves are especially evident in the controversy surrounding Wisconsin Natural Resources Board chair Frederick Prehn’s . . . 

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