The bill AB 357 which amends existing animal testing laws in California to expand the list of non-animal alternatives that some chemical testing laboratories are required to use has been passed. The new amendment will ensure more animal tests for products such as pesticides, household products, and industrial chemicals are replaced with non-animal tests, hopefully helping to reduce the overall number of animals used each year. The bill, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and authored by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, D-San Diego, was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on 8th October 2023.
Another state law passed in the year 2000 required laboratories that test products such as pesticides, household products and industrial chemicals to replace animal tests with non-animal alternatives, so this new amendment expands the types of alternatives to choose, which should make it easier for testers to stop using animals.
The bill now defines an alternative test method or strategy as a test method that does not use vertebrate non-human animals, provides information of equivalent or better scientific quality and relevance compared to traditional animal test methods, and has been identified and accepted for use by a federal agency or program, as specified.
The new law also mandates laboratories to submit an annual report that includes details on the number and type of animals used in tests, as well as the alternatives used.
HSUS estimates that more than 50 million dogs, cats, monkeys, rats and other animals are currently suffering in U.S. testing facilities and nearly 4.5 million of them are languishing in California laboratories.
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed into law the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, which ended a federal mandate that experimental drugs must be tested on animals before they are used on humans in clinical trials. This law makes it easier for drug companies to use alternative methods to animal testing. Approximately 90% of drugs ultimately fail in human trials after being tested in animals, so animal testing must be replaced by more effective methods.