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Michael Lyubinsky 757-622-7382
PETA Targets DOT for Telling Companies to Burn Rabbits With Chemicals
Agency Still Pushing Cruel Tests Despite Approving Humane--and Better--Alternative for Testing Corrosive Substances
WASHINGTON - December 8 - PETA has posted an action alert on its popular Web site urging visitors to tell the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to stop recommending that chemical shipping companies apply potentially corrosive substances to the shaved backs of rabbits. The DOT regulates the transport and hazard labeling of shipped materials.
Despite DOT's 1993 approval of Corrositex -a non-animal method that can spare countless rabbits excruciating pain--DOT has yet to promote the use of the scientifically valid, humane test method. Instead, DOT continues to encourage shipping companies to use rabbits in a test that is both antiquated and cruel. The DOT's stance is even more egregious given the agency's own acknowledgement that Corrositex "may be more stringent than the skin necrosis [rabbit] test." PETA has made several requests that the DOT change its Web site to clarify that the tests on rabbits can, and should, be replaced with the Corrositex test.
"The DOT is stuck in the slow lane, pushing cruel animal experiments even though an accepted, humane alternative has existed for years," says Jessica Sandler, director of PETA's Regulatory Testing Division. "Shockingly, the DOT has even advised some companies to use both the less rigorous rabbit test and the Corrositex test so that the companies can choose whichever result they prefer, adding an important public safety dimension to the controversy."
In the animal experiments, which are used to test potentially corrosive chemicals before they are transported, rabbits' backs are shaved and the chemicals are applied to their raw skin and left untreated for up to two weeks--with no painkillers. The chemicals burn through the skin, and the rabbits are killed after the test period. In contrast, Corrositex uses a simple vial of liquid that changes color when a corrosive material burns through a synthetic skin-like barrier.
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