18,000 rabbits saved from cruel chemical tests
EU legislation requiring cruel rabbit tests is axed
- Based on an EU Commission (2003) estimate that 83% of an estimated 5,000 Annex VIII substances to be registered by 2018 would not have data for (any) of the endpoints (= 4150 substances). We consider this an underestimation of the number of substances likely to be registered. Skin irritation tests use 3 rabbits per substance = saving of 12,450 rabbits. For eye irritation the situation is more complex as the methods can only detect severe irritants and non-irritants. 80% of chemicals are thought to be non-irritant, the in vitro methods tend to over classify a proportion of these as irritant, but are correct at identifying severe irritants (estimated at 15% of substances); estimated test reduction of 50% (see Scott et al. 2010 and OECD). Eye irritation tests use 3 rabbits per substance = saving 6,225 rabbits.
- Biocides (regulation 528/2012 ) and Plant Protection Products (regulation 544/2011) already referred to the testing strategy that leads to avoidance of the animal test rather than the animal test; medicines legislation and cosmetics legislation do not specify any particular test.
- This was a requirement in column 1 of Annex VIII of REACH.
- 2,080 rabbits used in eye irritation tests and 3,151 rabbits were used in skin irritation tests across the EU in 2011, according to the latest official statistics from the European Commission.
- An acute dermal toxicity test can now be explicitly waived if the oral toxicity of the substance is less than 2,000 mg/kg bw/d. The Commission estimates that this might apply to 80% of chemicals to be registered by 2018 which do not already have this data. Acute dermal toxicity tests use approximately 20 rats or rabbits per substance = saving 66,400 animals.