LONDON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Drug and chemical companies say they endorse a Europe-wide initiative intended to eventually end the use of animals in research and safety testing.
Experts from companies including drug giants AstraZeneca, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and cosmetics firm L'Oreal say that soon the safety testing of new drugs and chemical products will use new technologies, including cell cultures and computer models, rather than living animals, The Daily Telegraph in Britain reported.
A report published by a panel of experts from industry, academic institutions and regulatory bodies supports an initiative aimed at finding alternatives to animal research.
"Today we are at a new biological milestone, where we could, with sufficient international and political support, ... produce the means and the technology to test and assess the human and environmental risk of tens of thousands of chemicals per year without using animals," the report says.
Testing a single chemical takes up to five years, involves 800 rodents and costs $3.8 million. Robotic alternatives could test 350 chemicals in less than a week at a fraction of the cost, the report says.
"Endorsement from cross-sector, independent experts provides a tremendous boost to European Union and international efforts to revolutionize the science of safety testing," Troy Seidle, director of research for Humane Society International, said.
"The fact that industry is prepared to come to the table to meet with regulators and say they are prepared to do development, invest resources and change the way we do things shows this is a real possibility that is not just pie in the sky."