ICCVAM held its first public forum on June 25, 2014, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. This meeting was attended by over 50 individuals in person and remotely and provided an opportunity for public interaction with representatives from the 15 ICCVAM member agencies. ICCVAM representatives provided information about their agencies’ activities relevant to the development and use of alternative test methods. These ranged from near-term solutions (product-specific validation of non-animal methods) to longer-term, more complex approaches (organs-on-a-chip) to predict hazards to human health and the environment and minimize animal use.
The 2015 public forum was held on May 27 at NIH in Bethesda. Twelve public participants and nearly 100 webcast viewers joined 15 ICCVAM representatives from 10 member agencies. Highlights of activities presented by seven ICCVAM member agencies included a description of how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with pesticide producers to implement alternative tests or waive tests completely, and a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) summary of how non-animal methods were used to rapidly assess health hazards presented by the January 2014 Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia.
Key points raised by commenters at both meetings included requests for more transparency in reporting animal use by industry and more training for regulators on available non-animal methods and strategies. One commenter at the 2015 forum also emphasized the need for better communication to the public on the science behind non-animal methods.