Animal Tests Gets Green Light

Posted on June 8, 2004

A federal court order has temporarily scuttled
ALDF’s challenge to an EPA program that could needlessly expose
millions of animals to toxic substances. Intended to identify chemicals
that pose a threat to the human endocrine system, the program could
require extensive testing of nearly 87,000 substances. According to
some estimates, as many as 1.2 million animals could be used as test
subjects for every 1,000 chemicals the EPA analyzes.

"At the moment, about 20 million animals are used as test subjects each
year. This program would quadruple that figure," says ALDF founder and general counsel Joyce Tischler. "We can’t stand by and watch that happen."

Last year, ALDF challenged the EPA’s plan for implementation of the
program by filing a complaint on behalf of PETA, the Doris Day Animal
League, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and other
concerned parties. The complaint contended that the EPA failed to
investigate the full range of necessary tests — including alternatives
to animal testing — within a timeframe set by Congress. The complaint
also charged that the EPA failed to consult with other federal agencies
on its testing protocols (as mandated by Congress) and submitted animal
and non-animal tests to differing levels of review, increasing the
likelihood that animal tests would ultimately be implemented.

In December, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed the
complaint. That doesn’t mean the challenge to the EPA’s testing
protocols is over, however. ALDF and its clients are currently
reviewing the possibility of an appeal. And Bruce Wagman, one of the
attorneys representing the plaintiffs on behalf of ALDF, says there
might be more chances to intervene once the EPA finalizes its plans for
the program.

"The EPA is just using the same old animal model they’ve been using for
years without acknowledging that there are valid alternatives," says
Wagman, an ALDF member attorney and partner in the San Francisco firm
Morgenstein & Jubelirer. "If the EPA doesn’t take its time and
really consider some of the alternatives to animal testing, there’s
going to be a lot of needless pain and suffering."

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