Ethical beauty players including Lush have welcomed hefty funding by Animal Aid for a new cruelty-free safety test for chemicals and substances.
The campaign group has pledged £51k to accelerate the research, development and commercialisation of a humane acute toxicity test by XCellR8, a UK-based laboratory.
The new test aims to replace the LD50, whose name derives from its aim to determine the dose of a given chemical that is lethal to 50% of a group of animals.
Animal Aid’s funding directly supports the project, which will result in a totally animal-product free (or vegan), human relevant and validated laboratory test.
Despite major scientific advances in animal-free toxicology, more than 80,000 animals are still used annually in acute toxicity testing in the EU alone.
The animal agency’s sum represents 50% of the total matched funding required to supplement a research grant already received from Innovate UK.
Commenting on the grant, Carol Treasure, founder and CEO of XCellR8, said: “We are immensely grateful to Animal Aid for this huge show of support for our mission to develop scientifically and ethically advanced safety testing.
“Our values are closely aligned, driven by the desire to eradicate animal suffering and cruelty, so we are excited to work alongside them to raise awareness about the need to replace animal-based acute toxicity testing with more human relevant approaches, from both ethical and scientific viewpoints.
“This funding paves the way to develop robust non-animal laboratory tests and make them available to industry, directly reducing the numbers of animals used.”
“Animal Aid are delighted to be announcing our support for XCellR8 and their groundbreaking work to replace the outdated and incredibly cruel LD50 test,” said Iain Green, Director of Animal Aid.
“It’s incredible that tests such as these persist today. The tide is turning against animal experiments – the scientific evidence of their unreliability and the public repulsion at the breeding, harming and killing of animals is mounting every day.
“It’s time for humane, cutting-edge science, the likes of which is exemplified by XCellR8.”
The funding was welcomed by beauty brand Lush, which has a history of supporting initiatives to replace animal testing.
XCellR8 was one of the first The Lush Prize winners, claiming an award in 2013 for its training work in humane testing.
2022 marks ten years of The Lush Prize with nominations for this year opening on 24 April, and is said to be the largest global prize fund supporting initiatives in the non-animal testing sector.