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Speaking out at the European Commission’s Review of REACH workshop in Brussels last week, animal groups, including the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), criticised the Commission for failing to promote alternatives to animal testing for EU chemicals legislation REACH.
Senior individuals from three separate organisations, including the ECEAE, individually blasted the Commission for failing to ensure animal testing would be a last resort. The ECEAE’s representative, Dr Katy Taylor, said that the Commission’s own REACH review (published earlier this year) had admitted that not enough was being done to ensure that validated alternatives were being used. The ECEAE pointed out that 37% of the animal tests for the first REACH registration deadline should not have been done if REACH rules had been properly followed. She asked that more was done to promote the use of alternatives and added, ‘claiming that it is always someone else’s responsibility is just not acceptable when it comes to animal tests’. A member of an alternative testing body highlighted that the Commission should enforce the use of the validated alternatives to the cruel rabbit skin irritation tests. The Commission was also asked to update the legal text to ensure alternatives could be used. The ECEAE has previously raised all these issues in correspondence with both the Agency and the Commission.
Summing up at the end of the workshop, ECHA’s Director Geret Dancet said that, “he had heard the call on ECHA, Commission and Member States to use newer techniques and reduce the use of animal tests”.