The RSPCA is calling for companies to switch to a new method of reproductive toxicity testing which is predicted to save millions of animals. Senior scientist claims there is “no excuse for delaying its use”.

The RSPCA is calling for companies to switch to a new test which is predicted to save millions of animals used in safety testing.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has officially adopted a new guideline for reproductive toxicity testing and the RSPCA is urging chemical-based industries to replace the old method immediately.
Wistar rat by Janet Stephens (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Regulatory authorities must also accept and encourage the use of the new method for testing required by laws such as REACH and the Biocidal Products Regulation.

The new OECD guideline – called the Extended One-Generation Reproductive Toxicity Test – uses at least a thousand fewer animals than the current “two-generation” reproductive test guideline.

It could help reduce the enormous number of animals predicted to be used in reproductive toxicity tests for REACH – at least 6 million animals, and possibly as many as 40 million.

RSPCA senior scientist Barry Phillips said: “It has taken years for this modified method to be accepted by OECD. It has been thoroughly assessed by scientists and regulators around the world, and found to be as good as, or better than the existing method.

There is no excuse for delaying its use. Officials in the EU and worldwide must act quickly to make it clear not only that they will accept the results, but that they expect it to be used rather than the old method.”

He added: “I have serious doubts about the value of reproductive toxicity tests on rats, and accurate and reliable methods that don’t use animals are urgently needed. But this new method could at least save some of the millions of animals doomed to die in the next few years.”

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