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Hope for non-animal testing

Skin model proves a successful testing method

Researchers have found that a model replicating the traits of human skin could provide a replacement for animals in future clinical research.

A study taking place at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) in Belgium, found that a skin sensitisation assay can successfully identify chemicals causing human allergic responses.

The research team used a three-dimensional, human-derived skin model, which replicates key traits of normal human skin.

This could replace the use of guinea pigs or mice, which are injected with or have substances applied to their skin to determine allergic reactions.

Researchers found that the model accurately predicated each chemical's ability to cause an allergic response for all of the compounds tested.

These findings support those reported by Michigan-based research organisation, CeeTox, who created the skin sensitisation assay.

Further validation studies will be carried out, and the results are to be submitted to the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, which officially approves the methods of chemical testing required by law.

The announcement follows a recent ban in Europe on the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.

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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."

 

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New shearing guidance for farmers and contractors

Industry bodies have produced guidance for farmers and contractors on how to handle sheep during shearing to avoid stress and injury.

The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’