International deal signed to reduce animal testing.
KEY regulatory agencies have signed an international agreement to
work together in significantly reducing the number of animals used in
experiments worldwide. The Japanese Centre for the Validation of
Alternative Methods, the European Centre for the Validation of
Alternative Methods (ECVAM), the US National Toxicology Program and
Canada's Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau have
initialed a memorandum of cooperation. They will formalise the way they
work together in test method evaluation, validation studies, independent
scientific peer review and handling regulatory authorities. They will
also develop harmonised recommendations on regulatory issues.
"Reducing animal testing, both out of concern for animal welfare
and ethical issues, and protecting consumer safety are two major
objectives of this international agreement," said the European
Union's (EU) science and research Commissioner Janez Potosnik. A
separate European Commission note said: "It is expected that, as a
result of the agreement, testing methods that undergo scientific
validation will be more credible and more rapidly applied ...."