On June 22 of this year, President Barack Obama signed a new law that was a giant step of progress for animal activists around the world, and especially in the United States.The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was revised and the new law contains, for the first time in any broader health or environmental protection statute, a decree from Congress to minimize testing on animals. This new law upgraded a 40-year-old federal law that regulated the use of chemicals on animals.
Animals will no longer be at risk to having chemicals, biocides, pesticides, cosmetics and other potentially harmful substances tested on them in laborotories. This law follows another progressive measure in which the National Institute of Health announced the end of all scientific testing on primates in government-owned research facilities.
Obama's signing of the law is a sign that the American government is starting to embrace 21st century scientific methods and may soon resort to alternative practices which do not place animals in harm's way. They are starting to move away from outdated methods that are slow, expensive and, most importantly, dangerous for animals.
Another step indicative of this progress was that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this year to drastically reduce the use of animals in pesticide testing. The Humane Society International (HSI) reports that six short-term animal tests will be affected: eye and skin irritation testing in rabbits, skin allergy tests in guinea pigs or mice, and lethal poisoning tests in rodents or rabbits via oral force-feeding, forced inhalation and skin exposure.
Dr. Catherine Willett, director of regulatory toxicology, risk assessment and alternatives for the HSI, said:
Science has advanced dramatically since the 1920s and 40s when rat lethal poisoning tests and rabbit eye and skin irritation tests were first conceived. We commend (the) working to replace this obsolete and especially cruel form of animal testing, and look now to pesticide regulators in Brazil, Canada, India and Japan and other major markets to follow the U.S. example.
This is good news for animal lovers all over the world, even if it representes a small step in a much bigger fight. We hope that other countries will soon follow that U.S's example in denouncing and putting an end to animal cruelty in government-run laboratries. If you'd like to support the Humane Society International in their goal to free all animals from cruelty and especially testing labs, click here.