The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ditched its controversial plan to phase out all use of mammals, to test the safety of pesticides and chemicals, by 2035.
The arbitrary deadline was first introduced in 2019, to accelerate a move toward non-animal models, such as computer simulations and organoids, and made the EPA unique among US federal agencies.
EPA has now scrapped the Trump administration plan that would have cut animal testing by 30% in 2025 and ended it altogether by 2035. Instead, the agency, quoted in the Washington Times, says it will not be bound by any time limits and is following ‘the best available science’.
The action is similar to what has happened in the Netherlands. In 2016, the Dutch government expressed the ambition to phase out animal testing for research on the safety of chemicals by 2025.
Again, this arbitrary deadline was quickly scaled back, and the plan was reformulated as ‘the Netherlands as a forerunner in the international transition with animal-free innovation’, with an undefined target date because, ‘by letting go of the year, and with it resistance, progress can be made. But this does not mean that the ambition for animal-free innovation has been abandoned or lessened’.
EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “Well publicised – and, some may say, hyped - plans are no alternative to the reality of scientific innovation. The EPA and the Dutch Government have found that out to their cost.”