Animal

Measures To Use Of Animals In Cruel Chemical Toxicity Testing

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Amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act aimed at phasing out the use of animals for chemical toxicity tests in Canada have just been adopted. The measures were included in Bill S-5, which passed the third and final reading in the Senate yesterday and will now receive royal assent.

“We are delighted to pass Bill S-5 with provisions to phase out chemical toxicity testing on animals,” Shaarika Sarasija, senior strategist for research and regulatory science at Humane Society International (HSI)/Canada, told WAN.

“This decision will not only save tens of thousands of animals, but will also pave the way for the development, validation and implementation of safety assessment methods without animal testing that are more relevant for humans. HSI/Canada is committed to working with the Canadian government to provide a friendlier, safer and healthier environment for all Canadians,” continued Sarasija.

Conventional toxicity tests involve poisoning rats, mice, rabbits, fish, birds and other animals with chemicals by gavage, Inhalation or skin absorption for days, months or even years without pain relief to determine to what extent it interferes with normal bodily functions.

According to the Canadian Council for Animal Protection, half of the more than 150,000 animals used for regulatory tests in Canada in 2021 underwent “moderate to severe exercise” up to “severe pain close to or beyond the pain tolerance threshold”.”Many of these Tests were developed decades ago and represent outdated science that, at best, provides incomplete or inconclusive data while causing unnecessary animal suffering.

The toolbox of yesterday’s animal-free methods includes a series of sophisticated molecular biology tests that are more time- and cost-effective and relevant to humans. The changes made to Bill S-5 encourage their use and pave the way for the reduction and ultimately elimination of animal suffering in chemical toxicity tests thanks to technological advances.

The new measures include:

  • Requiring new test methods that do not use animals.
  • Promote the timely development and implementation of alternative methods to animal testing.
  • The government must publish a Plan within two years detailing the steps to be taken to achieve these objectives.

HSI/Canada is committed to working with the Canadian government and other stakeholders to ensure that the use of animals in toxicity tests — including pesticides, food and other regulated products — will eventually be relegated to the history books.

In addition, HSI/Canada will work with these stakeholders to ensure that new, faster, more efficient and more relevant methods of approach that do not involve animals will be developed and implemented within the deadline set by the Liberal government to end all toxic animal testing by 2035.