Norfolk, Vir.– For more than a decade PETA and its affiliates overseas, have been the scientific leader among animal-protection organisations worldwide, providing the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with technical expertise in modern, reliable, non-animal research and testing methods. Now, in a landmark move, PETA US, PETA UK and their European and Asian affiliates have combined their scientific resources to form the PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd (PISC), which will work with industry, private research facilities and regulatory bodies on developing strategies to promote and implement non-animal research methods at the national and international level. PISC scientists have a broad range of expertise in pharmaceutical development, molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics.
PISC will also fund the research and development of non-animal methods. To date, PISC members have provided more than $1.4 million toward the development and validation of non-animal tests for assessing chemical toxicity, carcinogenicity, skin sensitisation and irritation and disruption to hormonal systems. Tests replaced by these new methods include an archaic animal test in which corrosive and irritating chemicals were smeared onto rabbits' raw, abraded skin over a 14-day period; no painkillers were given to them during the test.
"PISC scientists will be at the table with government regulators and corporations to bring them up to speed on the newest non-animal test methods," says PISC Director Jessica Sandler. "By influencing national and international testing regulations and guidelines, PISC will help countries around the world shift more quickly to modern, humane science."
Today, to coincide with the launch of the consortium, PETA is pleased to announce that PISC has been accepted as an accredited stakeholder at the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). ECHA oversees the largest chemical test program in the world – the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation – that requires millions of animals to suffer in toxicity tests. As an accredited stakeholder, PISC will be granted access to international regulators and meetings relating to REACH to encourage the replacement of animals wherever possible.
Before it became incorporated, PISC was accepted as a stakeholder by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM), an organisation that has a critical role in determining the scientific acceptance and regulatory use of non-animal testing methods within the EU as well as globally. PISC will work with and influence the policy of the EURL ECVAM and the International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO).
For more information, please visit PISCLtd.org.uk.