PETA: ‘Animals for disease research is like marketing carrier pigeons for mass communications’

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/mkirarslan)
(Image: Getty/mkirarslan)

Related tags Contract research organization In vitro People for the ethical treatment of animals

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is looking to send a researcher to learn about non-animal test methods – adoption of which it says is slowed by regulatory agency acceptance.

The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is holding a contest to send an early career scientist to the annual Institute for In Vitro Sciences' (IIVS) Practical Methods for In Vitro Toxicology Workshop in January.

Dr. Amy Clippinger, PhD, associate director of the consortium and director of the PETA US Regulatory Testing Department told us IIVS will present on “numerous methods that can be used today to replace tests on animals​.”

Non-animal test methods for many toxicology endpoints—such as phototoxicity, skin and eye irritation/corrosion, and skin sensitization—already exist and additional methods for these and other endpoints are continuing to be developed, optimized, and incorporated into OECD​ test guidelines​,” said Clippinger.

Often, the bottleneck is not the science but the acceptance of new methods by regulatory agencies​,” she added.

To gain global regulatory acceptance, the consortium works with companies and regulatory agencies​ to gain acceptance of the new methods, explained Clippinger.

PETA at Biotech Week Boston

Last week, PETA protested outside a conference in Boston​, claiming Charles River Laboratories – sponsor of the inaugural World Congress on Animal Models in Drug Discovery & Development – “intentionally poisons animals​.”

The conference, which was part of Biotech Week Boston, centered around how innovative animal models, as well as in vitro​ and ex vivo​ modeling methods are shaping the future drug discovery.

Pushing the use of animals for disease research is like marketing carrier pigeons for mass communications – it wouldn’t work and it’s cruel​,” Kathy Guillermo, PETA senior vice president told us.

The majority of animal studies don’t lead to therapies for humans​,” she contested.

In response to the comments, Charles River told us the company has a deep commitment to animal welfare and makes every effort to exceed national standards for the care of the research models.

The survival rates for major diseases are at an all-time high thanks to the discovery of new drugs​,” contract research organization (CRO) said in the comment. “Our work is an essential component of the research that has led to these discoveries and is required by the FDA. Charles River has played a vital role in virtually every medical advance for humans as well as animals​.”

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