3rd June 2016
We help save 18,000 rabbits from cruel chemical tests
Cruel rabbit test is finally removed from EU legislation
New changes to EU chemicals legislation could mean that 18,000 rabbits are now spared the horror of chemicals being dripped into their eyes or rubbed on their skin.
We’re delighted that the requirement for the cruel Draize irritation tests on rabbits has been removed from the legislation known as REACH this week. This comes after over four years of lobbying by our scientists.
This was the last EU safety legislation to explicitly request these cruel tests.
The changes mean that companies are no longer asked to carry out skin and eye irritation tests on live rabbits. Instead, alternative tests must be used.
Cruelty Free International has been asking the Commission to update REACH legislation since at least 2012. We are frustrated that it has taken so long and we do not believe it would have happened without our explicit request.
The skin irritation alternatives should have been used by companies to test their chemicals since 2009, when they were adopted by the EU Test Methods Regulation. But the REACH legislation was never updated so companies remained unclear as to whether their data would be accepted if they used the alternatives.
Since then approximately 5,000 rabbits per year have been used in Europe for skin and eye irritation tests. Had the Commission acted earlier, thousands more rabbits could have been spared.
Since REACH was the last piece of EU legislation to require the rabbit tests, we now anticipate very few tests should be done. We will continue to monitor this and push regulatory authorities to properly enforce the use of alternatives.
The changes also mean that acute dermal toxicity tests are now no longer required for an estimated 80% of substances without this information already. This move will potentially save a further 66,400 rats or rabbits.
Dr Katy Taylor says; “We are delighted to see these cruel tests finally removed from EU chemicals legislation REACH. Their removal could spare about 5,000 rabbits each year the fate of having chemicals dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin. We are very frustrated that this has taken 7 years since the alternatives to these tests were formally recognised. The Commission simply must speed up its processes to prevent animal suffering and promote humane and advanced testing methods.”