posted June 28, 2022

Ethical vegans care deeply about animals and strive to live a cruelty-free life. In addition to following a vegan diet, we don’t buy leather or wool, and we carefully choose our cosmetics.

Photo Credit: iStock/Tatomm

When it comes to medicines, though, we don’t have the option of following our ethics. An antiquated law requires that all drugs be tested on animals before being approved for human use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Each and every drug involves needless animal suffering.

This mandate was passed in 1938 under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA), and although science has undergone astounding changes since that date, the law still reflects the outdated scientific understanding of almost 100 years ago.

The Center for a Humane Economy, in partnership with a “Modernize Testing” coalition of over 150 animal welfare organizations, patient advocacy groups, scientists, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, is working to pass a law that will modernize medicine by removing the FDA’s unyielding mandate for animal testing of all new drugs.

Photo Credit: iStock/artisteer

The FDA Modernization Act of 2021 (H.R.2625 and S.2952) will eliminate the requirement for animal tests, allowing scientists and pharmaceutical companies to utilize human-relevant alternatives for verifying the safety and efficacy of a new drug. While it won’t eliminate FDA animal testing, it will allow drug developers who chose to use cutting-edge non-animal methods to design and test drugs for market without using animals.

Currently, drug development is heavily reliant on animal tests and takes between 10 and 15 years and costs between $1 and $6 billion. This is because animals are poor and inadequate models for studying human health; drugs that appear to be safe and effective in animals fail upwards of 95% of the time when applied to humans.

Human-based alternatives are far more accurate at predicting human clinical responses and can provide more reliable data on the safety and efficacy of drugs.

Photo Credit: iStock/ Aleksandra Iarosh

By utilizing human-relevant technologies instead of inapplicable animal testing, the drug discovery process will be safer, quicker, and less expensive, all while sparing animals from the horror and pain of experimentation.

The good news is that Congress is making impressive strides towards passing the FDA Modernization Act. Since introduced in 2021, the FDA Modernization Act has garnered unprecedented bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. On June 14, it was passed by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) as a rider to the Food and Drug Legislative Packet (S.4348). This followed the overwhelming passage of comparable legislation by the House of Representatives the prior week.

While the FDA Modernization Act continues to advance through Congress, its passage is not yet guaranteed. There is still work to be done while the Senate makes a final decision in the coming months. The Center for a Humane Economy and its partners will remain vigilant at promoting the bill until it is fully enacted into law.

We’ve created a letter you can send your senators by filling out this form to let them know you urge them to support the FDA Modernization Act. Click here to tell your legislators to support the FDA Modernization Act.

Science has progressed in the last 84 years, but our laws have not. Its time to eliminate the outdated requirement for animal testing that impedes medical progress and harms and kills millions of animals each year.


Photo Credit: Tamara Drake

Tamara Drake is the Director of Research and Regulatory Policy with the Center for a Humane Economy.

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