28th January 2016
Chemicals agency demanding unnecessary test on 1000 rabbits
We intervene in European animal test case
This week we have sent expert scientific and legal arguments to the European Chemicals Agency to try and save up to 1000 rabbits from unnecessary tests.
Our observations are for a Board of Appeal case at the European Chemicals Agency.
The case was brought by Dutch chemical company Huntsman Holland, supported by BASF. Last year we were successful in being permitted to intervene in support of their case.
The company is objecting to a demand by the Agency to conduct a prenatal developmental toxicity test in rabbits. They Agency wants to know if the chemical is likely to cause abnormalities to the developing foetus.
The animal test would involve daily force-feeding of the chemical to pregnant rabbits during most of their pregnancy. The mothers are then killed the day before they are due to give birth. Their pups are extracted by caesarean section and examined for abnormalities before also being killed.
The company says that if they were forced to do the test they would end up killing up to 1,000 rabbits.
The company wants to use an alternative technique instead of the animal test, a strategy called ‘read-across’. They say that the Agency had ignored important information that supports their strategy – and is asking for an animal test that does not need to be done.
The substance to be tested is called propylene carbonate. The company has shown using alternative tests that it changes almost immediately in blood to propylene glycol which is not harmful to the developing foetus.
The European Chemicals Agency is responsible for the registration and authorisation of chemicals across Europe. It regularly asks for new animal tests to be done for some of the chemicals that are registered.
We closely monitor the activities of the Agency to ensure that they uphold the EU’s principle of ‘animal testing as a last resort’.
We submitted our legal and scientific comments in support of the company this week. An oral hearing in a few months is likely to follow. We’ll keep you updated…