Industrial Chemicals Reform Brings Opportunity to Replace Animal Tests With Modern Science
MELBOURNE (10 June 2015) –The #BeCrueltyFree Australia campaign welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that it will revise and modernise Australia’s industrial chemical testing laws, potentially sparing millions of animals from lethal toxicity testing. Legislators must grasp this vital opportunity to utilise all available non-animal tests, require companies to share existing data and promote the development of additional state-of-the-art non-animal test methods, says #BeCrueltyFree Australia, but lengthy chemicals reform mustn’t become a delay to a swift national ban on cosmetics animal testing.
Hannah Stuart for the #BeCrueltyFree Australia campaign, said: “Reforming Australia’s industrial chemicals regulation is critical to ensure we replace outdated animal tests, encourage the use of alternatives, and spare the lives of potentially millions of animals in the process. However, this should not prevent more immediate action by the government to ban animal testing of cosmetics and the sale of newly animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients. Introducing such a ban now would see Australia responding to both the growing worldwide momentum towards ending cosmetics cruelty, and the will of Australians who overwhelmingly oppose using animals to test beauty products.”
The Government has committed to invest $4.2 million over four years to develop a new framework for industrial chemical safety assessment through the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). The announcement comes following months of consultation, including #BeCrueltyFree Australia’s high level meetings with NICNAS regulators, the Department of Health, and key legislators to propose reforms to the NICNAS regulations that could spare millions of animals from lethal chemical toxicity testing, while providing the same level of regulatory scrutiny.
Stuart added: "The revision of NICNAS provides the Government with a critical opportunity to invest in and advance the use of 21st century science in Australian chemicals regulation. There is an urgent scientific and consumer safety imperative to replace decades-old animal tests with state-of-the-art alternatives. They offer results that are more human-relevant, faster and cheaper than testing on mice, rats and rabbits. Companies and regulators always claim they want to avoid unnecessary testing on animals: this is their chance to ensure the new legal provisions truly match that promise."
#BeCrueltyFree Australia is proposing three overarching objectives for NICNAS reform:
mandatory use of all existing non-animal test methods and test strategies that reduce animal testing;
compulsory data-sharing and full use of data generated for other regulatory regimes;
creation of a national programme to develop and promote additional 21st century test methods.
Such reforms would mirror similar provisions already adopted by the European Union, where promotion of alternative test methods reflects a growing global acknowledgement of the scientific, economic, efficiency and welfare advantages of advanced and human-relevant non-animal tests.
Government Whip in the Senate, Liberal Senator Anne Ruston, said:
“It’s time to acknowledge that the majority of Australians
want an end to the testing of cosmetics on animals."
"I am very proud to be working with Humane Research Australia and the Be Cruelty-Free Australia campaign on this issue. I look forward to moving a Private Members’ Motion in the House of Representatives to support this campaign very soon," said Liberal MP Jason Wood MP.
Read the full media release here: