The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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


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

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.

For more information, please click here.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 2.0 million members and supporters, is the largest animal rights organization in the world. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.