The EPA signs directive to reduce animal testing and increase funding for more humane testing methods

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed into a directive the 9th of September 2019 which makes it a priority of EPA to reduce animal testing. In addition to this, he also announced a $4.5M grant to five different universities to advance their R&D focusing on creating different testing methods that minimize/remove the need for testing conducted on animals. 

Today’s memo directs the agency to aggressively reduce animal testing, including reducing mammal study requests and funding 30% by 2025 and completely eliminating them by 2035

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

The accompanying memo lays the goal out more clearly with an aim of reducing animal testing by 30% by 2025 and completely eliminating them by 2035, except in extenuating circumstances which would require a case by case administrator approval. Furthermore, an annual congress will be held focusing on newly developed testing methods to improve knowledge sharing within the science community.

I am pleased today to establish the following commitments that will ensure our work in this area makes a real and significant difference. The EPA will reduce its requests for, and our funding of, mammal studies by 30 percent by 2025 and eliminate all mammal study requests and funding by 2035. Any mammal studies requested or funded by the EPA after 2035 will require Administrator approval on a case-by-case basis

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

The directive have largely been met with positive responses both from members of the US congress, animal welfare advocates as well as the science community at large, who especially applauded the efforts to not only find more humane methods but also more effective ones.

As a long-time animal welfare advocate, I applaud the EPA’s efforts to reduce testing on animals

Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42)

Under Administrator Wheeler’s leadership, EPA continues to forge a pathway to end decades of reliance on conventional animal tests as predictors of risk to humans and our environment

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund

Physicians Committee members have supported the replacement of toxicity tests on animals for many years

Kristie Sullivan, MPH, vice president for research policy at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

The five university recipients of the $4.5M grant are:

  • Johns Hopkins University to develop a human-derived brain model to assess the mechanism by which environmental chemicals might cause developmental neurotoxicity;
  • Vanderbilt University to test their organ-on-a-chip to study the blood brain barrier and potential brain injury after organophosphate exposure;
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center to use their Endo Chip technology to research how preexisting diseases affect cellar responses to environmental toxicants with a focus on reproductive disorders in women;
  • Oregon State University to develop in vitro test methods for fish species to screen chemicals in complex environmental mixtures;
  • University of California Riverside to use human cells to develop a cost-effective endpoint to characterize potential skeletal embryotoxicants