PETA and PCRM have submitted a request for more stringent animal testing regulations to the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, or ICCVAM.
The two groups said the current laws do not cover the vast majority of animal testing taking place in the U.S. currently, they said.
Mice and rats are the main test subject in this country – yet they are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act, or AWA, so they are not counted and tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to PETA.
“(This) is critical, as the U.S. lags far behind other countries, such as those in the European Union, that publish the numbers of all animals used as well as the endpoints for which they were used,” said Jessica Sandler, the director of PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department. “Without the ability to quantify animal use numbers, congressional appropriators and taxpayers are unable to determine ICCVAM’s progress in fulfilling its mandate to coordinate the reduction and replacement of animals in testing throughout the government.”
The use of mice and rats has taken off over the last 15 years, according to the animal-rights group. The PETA scientists published a study which found that 98.8 percent of animals in NIH-funded laboratories were not covered by the Animal Welfare Act. The use of the unregulated animals increased about 72 percent from 1997 to 2012 – while use of cats, dogs and other larger animals that are covered under the AWA remained constant, they found.
The two groups are advocating that the ICCVAM begin to count all animals, big and small, and pushin vitro methods of testing, rather than in vivo testing.
“In order to see a reduction in the use of animals, it is critical that industry use non-animal methods and that these methods be accepted by regulatory agencies,” they said in their statements.