PETA: New pesticide testing guidelines will save animal lives

The techniques also use animals less often, preferring tests that are more predictive of adverse effects. Instead, testing on animals will be used in specific cases to refine certain assessments.

The director of the EPA's pesticides office, Steven Bradbury, writes that the goal is to "move toward a new paradigm where in vivo [animal] testing is targeted to the most likely hazards of concern." 

Animal welfare groups welcomed the news.

In a statement, animal advocacy groups in the PETA International Science Consortium said that the new policies and guidelines "should result in a reduction in the number of animals killed in pesticide toxicity tests."

The group added that the guidelines should be followed "as fully as possible to reduce the death toll for animals."

The EPA's recent guidelines give regulators ways to avoid animal tests, direct them on how to review pesticide literature studies, gather data and assess how pesticides could affect peoples' eyes, nervous systems or skin.