October 19, 2009
PETA’s Push For Changes In USDA Testing Pays Off For Animals
Pigs, mice spared as agency moves to adopt modern, humane methods in vaccine testing
Following PETA's call for U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB) to adopt non-animal methods to test the potency of each batch of a vaccine, the CVB has informed PETA that three of the tests involving pigs have been replaced with modern non-animal methods. The USDA has amended its Web site to reflect the changes.
Specifically, PETA asked the CVB to follow the lead of Europe in adopting an in vitro test for the vaccine for erysipelas"”an infectious bacterial disease that strikes pigs. Prior to this change, erysipelas vaccine tests had required that pigs be deliberately infected with the disease. Erysipelas causes fever, arthritis, skin lesions, and death.
The CVB has further informed PETA that it is moving to convert antibody production from an intensely painful method in mice to a humane and reliable system based on cell cultures.
"By mandating modern, effective, and humane testing methods, the USDA will not only reduce the number of animals who are harmed and killed in tests but also improve vaccine testing," says Jessica Sandler, director of PETA's Regulatory Testing Division. "The USDA is on the right track, and we look forward to a productive partnership to further replace the use of animals."
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