Brussels, 11 November 2008
The European Commission has launched today a new website, the so-called 'Tracking System for Alternative test methods Review Validation and Approval (TSAR)', designed to track the development of new alternative test methods which should replace, reduce and refine current animal testing.
"The launch of this website is good news: it proves that we are serious about our commitment to develop alternative methods to animal testing and to be transparent about progress being made" said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. "It is in all our interests to avoid the use of animals in testing, for both ethical and animal welfare reasons. We also need fast, reliable and cost-effective test methods which ensure the safety of products for users, to help European industry, and which satisfy regulators."
The purpose of TSAR is to enable citizens and other interested parties to track progress of the review, validation and approval of alternative test methods, ensuring greater transparency of the process. The ultimate aim will be to cover each and every step of the validation route, from submission of a new method for pre-validation through to final adoption by its inclusion in EU legislation and/or related Guidance Documents. It will also explain the decisions that have been made at every step of the process. When the final decision on a proposed test method is negative, TSAR will clearly indicate the reasons why this decision has been taken. The website will be updated whenever a phase in the process is completed, ensuring the latest information is always available. However, to enable a rapid launch, the initial version covers only the part of regulatory approval of methods in the field of chemicals.
New alternative tests are subject to a process involving several stages of development, from proposal for validation to final inclusion in the EU regulatory framework. By consulting the website, it will be possible to check whether an alternative test exists, for example, to test for "skin irritation and corrosion" and to know if that method is already accepted in the EU legislation or for other regulatory use. Detailed information on each method will also allow interested users to know which domain of the 3Rs the method applies to - i.e. if it reduces, replaces or refines testing on animals - and which legislation refers to the method (in case of methods already adopted for regulatory use).
The website is managed by the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Health and Consumer Protection.
Website address: http://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/tsar
For more information, see also: SPEECH/08/574