Great news for animal lovers as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces it is phasing out animal testing on mammals. According to an agency press release, the plan is a 30% reduction in the number of studies that require the use of mammals by 2025, and to end these types of studies by 2035.

This is an about face of sorts for the agency. In the past, the EPA required that new chemicals be tested on a variety of animals including rats, dogs, birds and fish  to assess their toxicity.

What I like most about this is that the EPA also announced a $4.25 million grant to four universities and a medical center to help them in their efforts to create new methods of chemical testing that do not use animals. It is one thing for the EPA to end the practice but to help find a "replacement" is awesome. It means that other companies/groups/government agencies will then end the practice as well.

That being said, the announcement is getting mixed reviews.

Kitty Block, president and chief executive, Humane Society of the United States told The New York Times, "The alternatives are the future. They're more efficient and save lives. We are really excited as this has been something we've wanted for quite some time.”

Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, says she believes animal testing of chemicals is still necessary because cells in a petri dish can't yet replace whole living systems.