Let’s Talk Legislation: EPA Will End Animal Testing by 2035
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a directive on September 10, 2019 prioritizing efforts to reduce animal testing. Additionally, Administrator Wheeler announced that $4.25 million in funding will be granted to five universities in their efforts to develop alternatives and safer methods for chemical testing. A memo was also released highlighting the specific commitments and timeline of EPA efforts to reduce testing across the board by 2035.
“Through scientific innovation and strategic partnerships, we can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science in our decision-making that efficiently and cost-effectively evaluates potential effects without animal testing.” said EPA Administrator Wheeler.
Administrator Wheeler established several commitments to reduce and eventually replace the EPA’s use of animal testing. By 2025, the EPA has committed to reducing requests for, and funding of, mammal studies by 30 percent with a complete elimination by 2035. Any requests made after that will require Administrator approval on a case-by-case basis.
The EPA’s commitment to reducing animal testing has recieved widespread support from members of Congress, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01) and Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42), and from animal rights advocates in the private sector, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Humane Society.
“We ask the Congress, the regulated industry and other key stakeholders to join together in support of this key initiative.” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Animal testing has been a controversial method of predicting the dangers of certain chemicals in the United States for decades. New scientific and technological advances exist today that better predict many side-effects and hazards of chemicals without the use of traditional mammal testing. As with many issues across industries, free-market alternatives often do a stronger job at producing solutions that work. Without a unique relationship between government funding and industry competition, this would not be possible. This is fantastic news for the animals, but also demonstrates the EPA’s dedication to embrace and utilize modern science and technology to drive policy.
Recognizing this, the EPA is providing $4.25 million in grants to universities across the country making meaningful advancements and conducting research on non-vertebrate alternative test methods to assess potential chemical hazards. These grants were awarded through the agency’s Science to Achieve Results Program (STAR), an EPA program designed to engage the nation’s top scientists and engineers, producing results necessary to make sound policy while maintaining public health. STAR grants are awarded through a highly competitive selection process to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used thoughtfully. Grants will be given to Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Oregon State University, and the University of California Riverside.