New action programme to accelerate research into alternative approaches to animal testing

June 22, 2006

Brussels, 21 Jun 2006

The European Partnership on Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) today announced details of its first action programme, which aims to make significant progress in refining, reducing and replacing animal use (the '3Rs') in the areas of regulatory testing.

The Partnership – an unprecedented collaboration between the European Commission and industry – has agreed 21 key activities that will be carried out over the next five years. These range from assimilating best research practice from across seven industry sectors, to the evaluation of the regulatory drivers for animal testing, and ultimately the validation and acceptance of Alternative approaches to safety testing.

The overall programme will be co-ordinated by the Partnership's steering committee co-chaired by Georgette Lalis from the European Commission and Colin Humphris representing European industry. In a joint statement they said: "The European Commission and European industry have both achieved much in recent years to refine, reduce and replace the need for animals in safety testing, but society rightly demands that we all increase our efforts. The adoption of this ambitious action programme clearly shows our commitment to pool resources and to work together to drive research forward in this crucial area. The refinement, reduction and replacement of animal testing is the goal of all members of the partnership, and we hope that the publication of this programme will encourage others to work with us."

The action programme is divided into the following five principal themes which are interlinked and dependent upon one another:

  • Evaluation of the regulatory drivers for animal use
  • Map and evaluate past and current 3R activities
  • Prioritise and implement research based on 3Rs
  • Validate new and alternative test methods and strategies
  • Identify, disseminate & implement 3R best practice across EU

The five areas will be managed in an integrated fashion to ensure consistency. An annual report from the Partnership on the implementation and impact of the Action Programme will be published for the public. The first report on implementation should be available by December 2006. The programme will be reviewed on a regular basis.

For further information please contact http:///ec.europa.eu/enterprise/epaa/inde x_en.htm

Background

The European Partnership was created in November 2005 on the occasion of a Conference "Europe goes alternative" in Brussels hosted by Vice President of the European Commission Günter Verheugen and Commissioner Janez Potoènik.

The European Commission and the following seven industrial trade associations agreed on a "3 Rs Declaration": the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), European Association for Bio-Industries (EuropaBio), the European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (COLIPA), the European Federation on Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Product Industry in Europe (AISE), the International Federation for Animal Health Europe (IFAH-Europe).

The following companies have also endorsed the Declaration and joined the Partnership (BASF, Bayer, Henkel Phenion, Johnson&Johnson, L'Oréal, Pfizer, P&G, Unilever) The Declaration establishes the framework for cooperation of the European Partnership, which aims at replacing, reducing or refining (3 Rs) animal use by applying advanced methodologies from biosciences and medicine to develop novel approaches to assessing safety.

Full text including illustrative graphic

European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing -- EPAA

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