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Victory! Pesticide Tests Are Not for the Birds—or Any Animal
January 24, 2013

Hundreds of animals will be spared from being used and killed in cruel pesticide tests, thanks to recent PCRM victories. Here’s our director of regulatory testing issues Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., to tell you more. She also shares a link to our new, interactive pesticides infographic that illustrates the painful procedures animals endure before dying in 33 common pesticides tests:

In PCRM’s toxicology and regulatory testing department, we work hard to show that animal tests can be replaced by other methods. Sometimes we can eliminate the need for animal testing by simply providing evidence that sufficient data is already available. This is the case for three of our recent cases. My colleague Aryenish Birdie, PCRM’s regulatory testing policy coordinator, and I wrote the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and provided the agency with justifications and data arguing against animal testing.

The EPA regulates all pesticides and requires that pest control products be tested on animals. Typical tests include painful short- and long-term tests that kill more than 13,000 animals per pesticide. You can learn more about these tests on our new infographic.

The EPA also evaluates existing products on the market and can require that their manufacturers conduct a new round of animal tests, which was the case for the pesticides we recently commented on. When the EPA issues requests for additional testing, my team carefully reviews the proposed tests in order to push for eliminating as many animal tests as possible. We just learned that we helped stop tests that would have killed 200-600 animals, including newborns, for the pesticide thiobencarb, a commercial-grade herbicide.

Our other victories are with the pesticide aldicarb, an insecticide primarily used to kill roundworms. PCRM successfully provided existing data that eliminated the need for an immunotoxicity test that would have dosed at least 40 rats with the pesticide daily for 28 days without pain relief, after which the rats would have been killed. PCRM also argued against EPA’s request for a lethal dose test on 50 songbirds for aldicarb (yes, believe it or not, songbirds are used in fatal toxicity tests!). In response, the EPA may no longer require the test.

I look forward to sharing more victories as 2013 progresses!


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