Ombudsman says ECHA isn’t doing enough to require alternative, non-animal methods

The European Ombudsman has upheld a complaint made by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is not doing enough to enforce substitution of animal testing when companies prepare safety data on compounds under EU regulations on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (Reach).

The ECHA’s triennial report on animal testing in June 2014 showed progress on alternative mechanisms for meeting Reach requirements without animal testing. However, the agency admitted that some firms had initiated animal tests that could have been substituted for validated in vitro methods, and that some animal tests were being undertaken without consultation with the ECHA as to whether they were necessary.

After negotiations, the ECHA has agreed to step up its enforcement, making better use of its existing powers. The regulator will also support executive bodies in EU member states in investigating cases where animal testing has been undertaken unnecessarily.