PETA has sent a stakeholder alert to UK-based makers of veterinary vaccines and several contract research companies informing them that the Home Office is changing its policy to ensure veterinary vaccine tests on animals that could be avoided will no longer be approved.

The People for the Ethical treatment of Animals Foundation (PETA) has sent a stakeholder alert to UK-based makers of veterinary vaccines and several contract research companies informing them that the Home Office is changing its policy to ensure veterinary vaccine tests on animals that could be avoided will no longer be approved.

Tightened procedures now apply to “target animal batch safety testing” (TABST). Between 50 and 100 mammals and hundreds of chickens are estimated to be used in such tests in the UK each year.
 
Following changes to the European Pharmacopoeia, guidance adopted by the European Medicines Agency in 2005 allowed companies to avoid conducting TABST if consistency between production batches was demonstrated. Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the use of animals should no longer have been permitted where this approach was available. In 2008, PETA learned that the Home Office Animals Scientific Procedures Division did not keep records that would allow it to assess whether testing that could avoided under the rules was still being licensed. As a result of ongoing pressure from PETA:
 
* The VMD agreed to stop charging companies that applied for waivers to discontinue the test.
* The Home Office investigated existing licences to ascertain whether TABST was being conducted. As a result, one company that was still conducting animal tests and had not applied for a waiver for all products agreed to do so.
* Guidelines for Home Office Inspectors are being finalised and future generic Home Office licences will contain provisions to ensure that avoidable target animal batch safety tests are not conducted.
 
In the light of this information, PETA is issuing its first stakeholder alert to UK industry.
 
“Although greatly concerned that non-required animal tests were conducted after falling through bureaucratic cracks, we commend the Home Office for responding to our concerns over the needless suffering that has been caused,” said PETA policy advisor Alistair Currie. “PETA will keep a close eye on this issue and will let industry stakeholders know of any further developments through future Stakeholder Alerts if necessary. We are pleased to have played a positive role in bringing about a change that will result in saving many animals’ lives.”
 
PETA’s stakeholder alert is available upon request. For more information, visit PETA.org.uk

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