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Canada plans to phase out using animals in chemical testing

Ottawa updates, modernizes ‘cornerstone’ environmental law
FILE - Nancy Miljour, from left, Rachael Elgie and Reggie Dewdney were among those in downtown Kelowna in in 2018 supporting a demonstration by the Kelowna chapter of the Animal Defense and Anti-Vivisection Society of B.C. The society opposes the use of animals for medical experimentation and scientific research. -(Warren Henderson/Capital News)

A humane society is applauding the federal government’s promise to phase out chemical testing using aminals.

Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act, received Royal Assent Wednesday (June 14), which modernizes the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and “represents the first set of comprehensive amendments to CEPA since it was enacted over 20 years ago.”

Humane Society International Canada is celebrating the amendments, specifically one that is aimed at phasing out the use of animals for chemical toxicity testing in Canada.

A concerted move away from animal-based toxicity tests could spare tens of thousands of animals each year and advance public health and environmental protection with more advanced and relevant tests for the benefit of all Canadians,” said Shaarika Sarasija, senior strategist for research and regulatory science at Humane Society International Canada.

The humane society says conventional toxicity testing involves poisoning rats, mice, rabbits, fish, birds and other animals with chemicals “via force-feeding, inhalation or skin absorption for days, months or even years without pain relief, to see the extent to which it disrupts normal bodily functions.”

A humane society release adds that “today’s toolbox of non-animal methods includes an array of sophisticated molecular biology tests that are more time and cost efficient and human relevant.”

The Bill S-5 amendments also include: protecting vulnerable populations, assessing real-life exposures, a new Plan of Chemicals Management Priorities, supporting the shift to safer chemicals and a stronger regime for toxic substances that pose the highest risk.

The amendments also, “for the first time at the federal level, recognize the right to a healthy environment in Canada when administering CEPA, providing a solid foundation on which to continue taking action across the country on delivering a strong, healthy future for everyone who calls this country home.”

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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