International Acceptance of Alternatives to Cruel Rabbit Draize Eye Test Finally Achieved
An Animal Rights Article from


British Union Against Vivisection (BUAV)
September 2009

The BUAV today welcomed the publication of the OECD’s (The Organisation for Economic Cooperative Development) final guidance on how to conduct eye irritation tests without using live rabbits. If properly implemented, this move will prevent the untold suffering of thousands of rabbits throughout the world who would otherwise be forcibly restrained while potentially irritating chemicals and cosmetics were dripped into their eyes.


479 Draize eye tests took place in the UK during 2008 and around 4,000 rabbits are used in the EU annually.

The BCOP (bovine corneal opacity and permeability) test and the ICE (isolated chicken eye) use eyes from animals killed for food via slaughter houses. The BCOP test was developed in the 1940s, pioneered by alternatives experts in the 1970s and finally validated by the European Centre for Alternative Methods in 2007. It is shocking that it has taken this long for international acceptance.

The OECD is an economic alliance of 30 of the world's industrialised countries. Based in Paris, the OECD co-ordinates the development of standardised chemical testing guidelines which are then adopted by the member countries.

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