Photo by Brian Gunn
Canada has now banned the use of animals in cosmetic testing, and is phasing out toxicological testing of products bought by Canadian consumers. And in the US, the Food and Drug Administration has dropped the regulatory testing of new drugs on animals. Yet the development and approval of new pharmaceuticals in Canada still require animal testing be conducted.
We are urging Health Canada to implement changes to Canada’s drug testing regulations such as the United States has recently adopted through its FDA Modernization Act 2.0. This Act ends the requirement for the testing of new drugs on animals in favour of sophisticated, human-relevant and reliable evidence methods.
Technical advances in human-relevant testing and research have successfully demonstrated increased efficiency, reliability, cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability. And with an over 90% failure rate of drugs that pass the initial animal testing phase, human health would only benefit by a complete revamping of our current drug review process.
Institutions such as the Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods at the University of Windsor stand as an example of academic excellence and broader progress in Canadian medical research. Yet such centres remain underfunded while Canada’s animal use numbers stay high, at over 3,692,479 per year according to the latest reporting from the Canadian Council on Animal Care.
We urge the Canadian Government, Health Canada and our major funding agencies to enact policies that promote health research and testing innovation and which will save millions of animal – and many human – lives each year in Canada. It is essential that we reallocate funding from repetitive animal-testing-based science to the development, validation and implementation of scientifically and morally superior methods. As a signee of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM) in 2009, Health Canada must become proactive in this arena. Ask Canada to uphold our responsibility to reduce and replace the use of animals in biomedical research, training and testing.
Thank you for taking action!