11th April 2019
We win appeal to stop European Chemicals Agency turning blind eye to animal welfare
This ruling may save thousands of animals from distressing chemical tests
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) were going to force a chemical manufacturer to conduct cruel chemical tests on rodents because ECHA argued that the tests were needed even on the basis of the updated dossier.
A German chemical company, BrüggemannChemical, handed in a report to the agency showing there was no evidence of humans coming into contact with a cancer-causing chemical substance for long periods of time. So the animal tests they were ordered to undertake for the substance weren’t needed. The company’s concerns were dismissed because they were submitted after an arbitrary deadline from ECHA.
The tests ordered cause some of the highest levels of pain and distress on animals in laboratories. They involve between 400 and 1,200 rodents being fed the substance - by force or mixed in with their diet - every day for up to two years. It is common for the animals to develop cancers and other health problems and between 25% and 70% of them die before the end of the study period.
The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments supported a case brought to the ECHA board of appeal, arguing that animal welfare should not be looked over in favour of needless bureaucracy. We’re delighted to report that the Board of Appeal agreed, and the case was won.
Dr Katy Taylor, our Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs, says: “Time and again, ECHA puts its own bureaucratic convenience ahead of animal welfare and fairness to companies. We welcome the ruling by the Board of Appeal that this approach is unlawful. Paying lip-service to the REACH requirement that animal tests should only be carried out as a last resort is really not good enough. ECHA needs a root-and-branch cultural shift in this regard. Not only does the carcinogenicity study involve high levels of suffering to large numbers of animals, study after study shows that it is a very poor predictor of cancer in human beings."