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OECD Sets New Guidelines For Laboratories
By Anai Rhoads
From the moment animal experimentation became public
knowledge, people have shown a great deal of compassion and
concern for the welfare of the animals.
An estimated 2.5 million live animal experiments were
authorised in Great Britain in the year 2000 alone. Legislation
passed in 1822 has significantly limited the procedures and
freedom scientists have with laboratory animals. The process
is now even stricter - preventing a free-for-all rule overuse of
animals. It is clear however, that no amount of policy will
prevent the animals from being boarded, experimented on and
killed for the sake of science.
Almost every medical treatment you have used in the past or
currently use has been tested on animals. In England, law
requires that any new drug be tested on at least two mammals
- a large non-rodent mammal is mandatory by regulations policy.
Current EU regulations state that researchers must consider
the pain that an animal may feel during an experiment. Now,
applicants are required to choose one of the three alternatives
provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) when proceeding with an experiment on an
animal in a laboratory.
The first of the three tests, Guideline 420, was developed in the
UK. It requires no more than four animals. To prevent the
demise of the animal, the toxicologists evaluate the situation to
ensure a lethal dose was not administered.
The second of three, Guideline 423, was created in Germany. A
single animal receives a dose that increases in strength. This
may or may not lead to the animal's death. Once one animal has
successfully survived the regimen, two more animals are
brought in and tested to confirm the original results. However,
within the German version of this test, it has been noted that
two other animals are brought in whether there was survival or
Finally, the third test, Guideline 425, was developed by the
United States. This method involves raising and lowering the
doses to the animal to judge it's reaction. Nine animals are
required for this test, and roughly half die before the experiment
According to OECD, test 420, 423 and 425, will be phased in
slowly over the next few months. This will allow the
laboratories to adjust to new guidelines.
Whether it is for cancer or shampoo, animals are used in
laboratories and exploited world-wide. Animals have suffered
and will continue to suffer for hiv/aids, heart disease,
cholesterol, Alzheimer's, spinal cord and head injury, breast
cancer, xenotransplants and drugs experiments.
Although the new guidelines set by the OECD show some
compassion for the animals, they do not prevent the abuse and
death of the animal. While some may see this as a minor victory, it is not by far what animal activists had hoped for.
© 2002 Anai Rhoads. All rights reserved.
The calf photo on these pages is from Farm Sanctuary with our thanks.
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