We caught up with Kirstie Sullivan of ICAPO (The International Council on Animal Protection in OECD Programmes) back in 2014, one year after her company won the 2013 Lush Prize for Lobbying.
Could you describe who you are and what you do?
I am a toxicologist with experience in the regulatory acceptance of the 3Rs method for chemical and other product testing, and I serve as Secretariat for the International Council for Animal Protection in OECD programmes, or ICAPO, via my organisation, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. My organisation and ICAPO’s nine other NGO members represent over 200 million consumers worldwide. ICAPO aims to provide timely, relevant, and professional contributions to OECD documents, meetings, and programs while advocating for the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animals in chemical tests.
Why were you nominated for the prize?
ICAPO was nominated because of our work over the last 12 years to secure the fullest possible adoption of in vitro and in silico test methods and approaches into OECD documents and programmes, paving the way for regulatory acceptance of these non-animal approaches in national and regional regulatory programmes.
Why did you win the prize?
We are grateful that the judges saw not only the merit of our past work but the promise of what the prize funding will mean for ICAPO’s ability to make additional progress.
What difference has winning the prize made to your contribution to the goal of the ‘three R’s' (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement)?
ICAPO is currently finalising the support of the individual programmes the prize money will support, but they include very necessary training for the QSAR Toolbox, as well as work and education within the OECD’s Adverse Outcome Pathway programme. Projects like this represent substantial investments in current and future needs for the implementation of in silico and in vitro tools and approaches for regulatory toxicology, and will help to ensure the replacement and reduction of the use of animals in chemical testing.
Could you outline how your work overlaps with current governmental policy?
ICAPO’s work is integrated directly into governmental policy, as a tradition and practice of harmonisation at OECD means that advances at the OECD level have a high probability of being taken up in member and non-member OECD countries alike.
What did winning the Lush Prize mean to you?
I am so proud that my work and the work of my colleagues, and the impacts we have made and will be able to make in the future, was recognised and supported by the judges and the Lush Prize. Policy work can be slow and arduous, and ICAPO is thankful for the chance to highlight the advances that have been taking place at OECD.
How will you continue in your field, to fight against animal testing?
ICAPO and its member groups will continue to use their scientific and policy expertise firstly to try to replace, and then reduce and refine, the uses of animals in chemical testing via international regulatory advocacy. This work will lead to a more humane and safer world for all.