EPA floats plan for reducing animal testing

EPA floats plan for reducing animal testing
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The Trump administration is proposing a strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate certain animal testing in evaluating chemicals.

In a draft document released Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laid out a multiyear process to identify alternative testing methods, push those methods in the chemical industry and start to use them in regulatory decision-making.

Congress told the EPA to develop the strategy in the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

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“This draft strategy is a first step toward reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science to ensure chemicals are reviewed for safety with the highest scientific standards,” EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog Is Big Oil feeling the heat? MORE said in a statement.

“EPA is committed to working with animal welfare groups and other groups to produce a sound, effective plan in line with the law.”

Eventually, the EPA hopes to completely eliminate chemical testing on vertebrate animal species, a group that includes mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles, it said in the 40-page draft strategy.

“Achieving this goal will require the EPA to maintain a high level of commitment to identifying, developing, and integrating [new testing methods] for implementation under TSCA and to work closely with stakeholders at every step,” the agency said.

The animal testing provisions of the 2016 law were championed largely by Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Julián Castro jabs ICE: 'Delete your account' Booker campaign unveils bilingual training program for Nevada caucus MORE (D-N.J.), an outspoken animal rights advocate. Booker and animal rights groups estimated that the EPA could reduce harm or deaths for hundreds of thousands of animals.

“We welcome the draft strategy as a progressive step to reduce and ultimately replace the use of animals to regulate chemicals in the U.S. through the implementation of TSCA reform,” Catherine Willett, director of science policy at the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement regarding the Wednesday release.

“We have every indication that EPA intends to make good on this unprecedented opportunity to not only reduce animal use, but improve the science used to evaluate chemical safety.”

The EPA will gather public comments on the draft strategy for 45 days.