Dogs used in toxicity tests
It is worrying to learn that in TheBark.com’s home state of California, approximately 600 dogs – most of them specially bred Beagles – are being held in 10 facilities to serve as subjects for toxicity testing. The Third-Party Testing Prevention (PET) Act, also known as SB 252, a bill now passing through California state law, could change that.
A toxicity test involves exposing an animal to a chemical to see if the chemical could harm humans. These tests, which vary in duration, can be excruciatingly painful. The animals can suffer from the toxic effects: vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, shortness of breath, appetite or weight loss, rashes, salivation, paralysis, lethargy, bleeding, organ abnormalities, tumors and even death.
Worse still, according to Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the author of the law, studies show that animal toxicity tests are unreliable, fail to ensure human safety, and have serious scientific limitations. Almost 90 percent of drugs that are first tested on animals fail when later tested on humans – ironically, often due to unexpected toxicity.
When passed and signed by the governor, the law will prohibit toxicological testing of products such as pesticides, food and color additives, and medicines on dogs and cats. However, it would have no impact on testing required by federal law or biomedical research. It will also consider testing products intended for use with “non-human” animals, including animal vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and flea and tick products, from the list.
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The act, sponsored by the United States Humane Society, was co-authored by Congregation members Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica). Senator Wiener, an animal lover who grew up with dogs, is cautiously optimistic about his chances of becoming law.
“Dogs and cats should not be subjected to unnecessary and inhuman toxicity tests that do not have beneficial health results,” said Senator Wiener. “We should make sure that tests on dogs and cats are humane and have real medical value. Animals deserve better treatment and shouldn’t be subjected to harmful tests just because they can’t say no. ”
Sabrina Ashjian, California State Director of HSUS, commented, “The life of a dog used for toxicity testing is one of fear and unnecessary suffering. This bill can protect hundreds of dogs each year. With modern technology, these outdated tests are not required. We are so grateful to Senator Wiener for proving once again that California is paving the way for animal welfare. “
Here is a summary of the bill as it stands: “This bill prohibits a testing facility, as defined, from conducting a toxicological experiment on dogs or cats that is defined as a test or study of any duration to determine the effect of the application or Exposure to any amount of a chemical substance in a dog or cat unless the experiment is conducted for specific purposes, including medical research or to meet federal requirements for approval or maintenance of a medical device.
“The bill would empower the attorney general, the district attorney for the district where the violation allegedly occurred, or the city attorney in certain cases, to commence a civil lawsuit for a violation of these regulations that does not result in a civil penalty of $ 5,000 to exceed every day any dog or cat is used in a dog or cat toxicology experiment. “
At the time of this writing, the bill had been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. For more information, see the bill’s provisions and follow its progress at California Legislative Information.