"Why the fuck did you think using me to conduct toxicity tests was a good idea in the first place?" —This beagle. Photo via Flickr user Timothy Fenn
Hug your pet: Health Canada is ending its requirement to test pesticides on animals.
According to a report from PETA, Canada's Pesticide Management and Regulatory Agency (PMRA) made the move to axe the regulation after pressure from the animal rights group caused Health Canada to review the efficacy of the program. A similar move was made by the EPA in the US, which reduced its year-long testing requirement to 90 days.
PETA said it provided evidence to Health Canada that the regulation—which forced the pesticide industry to conduct year-long toxicity tests on beagles—did "little to protect people" and went on for an unnecessary period of time.
Pesticide testing generally involves anywhere from 32 to 64 dogs—which vary in intensity of testing for controlled research purposes—being fed or exposed to pesticide-ridden food and environments in an effort to see how the chemicals will affect humans. After the research period is complete, the dogs are killed and dissected to see the damage the chemicals did to their internal organs.
Patricia Bishop, a scientific researcher for PETA, said that the move is a step in the right direction, but she added that she wishes it would have happened sooner. She also said that countries such as Japan and South Korea still have ongoing programs of the same nature.
Bishop said the real harm of the tests come from the fact that most harmful results of pesticides show within the first 90 days of testing, and she noted that the one-year requirement was largely a formality that caused unnecessary suffering.
"We don't really need this kind of testing because most of the results show up in the first 90 days," Bishop told VICE. "The research has shown that this is a policy stuck in the past. We aren't learning too much from these sorts of tests."
Health Canada said it would not be available for comment until Tuesday.
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