PETA scientists are continuing their work to end testing on live animals that result in flawed data. They have coauthored a paper with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other collaborators on methods that can replace the use of live rabbits to test the effects of pesticides on human eyes.
Tests on Animals Aren’t Good Science
Government agencies require eye irritation tests before pesticides and other products can be marketed or shipped. These tests can include the Draize eye irritation test, a crude method developed in 1944 in which chemicals are applied to the eyes of live rabbits. Rabbits may experience significant pain, swelling, hemorrhaging, or cloudy vision and may even go blind during the 21-day observation period. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 600 rabbits are used this way in pesticide tests each year.
The results of the Draize test notoriously lack reproducibility, and there are significant differences between rabbit and human eyes. For example, rabbits have a third eyelid and they don’t produce tears as efficiently as humans do.
What Are PETA Scientists Doing to Change the Status Quo?
PETA scientists are seeing to it that the Draize test is replaced with methods that are more reliable and human-relevant. This effort includes publishing papers with researchers and regulators to build support for these new methods and encouraging their use around the world.
Their latest paper, published in Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, describes a study in which 29 pesticide formulations were tested using methods that don’t use live animals. PETA scientists and their collaborators found that the methods that were tested were as good as or better than the Draize test for assessing chemicals for eye irritation.
The paper builds on a previous publication coauthored by PETA scientists that examined all available eye irritation methods to determine which are the most useful for assessing human eye irritation and another publication that challenges the practice of comparing data from new, reliable, and human-relevant test methods to results from flawed animal tests such as the Draize test.
Together, these publications, along with donations of cutting-edge equipment to researchers, can help end the use of live animals in eye irritation tests and better protect humans.
How You Can Help Rabbits in Laboratories
Be on the side of science by only buying from companies that don’t test their products on animals: