June 10, 2018
A small but powerful collection of animal experimentation groups has presented measures to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that would drastically weaken existing policies and regulations protecting animals in laboratories.
These pro-animal-research groups are using portions of the recently passed 21st Century Cures Act, which directs administrative agencies to “reduce the regulatory burden on researchers,” as an excuse for gutting current animal welfare regulations and oversight.
NIH is now considering implementing these measures and has opened up comments to the public.
Urgent! We have an opportunity to oppose this, but you must post your comment by midnight on Tuesday June 12.
You may recall that we recently asked you to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture to oppose a proposal that would delegate oversight of animal research facilities to outside, third-party inspectors.
Fortunately, USDA discarded that plan after more than 35,500 members of the public contacted them, the overwhelming majority opposing the plan. Clearly, our actions can make a difference. Now we need to mobilize and speak out again.
Please click here to leave your comments on NIH’s website. You will see that the platform is unduly complicated. Please don’t let that dissuade you from leaving a comment.
You only need to leave two comments under the sections designated below. You can leave the other comment fields blank, except for filling in your name and other information at the top. Feel free to cut and paste the text below or use your own words if you prefer.
Be sure to enter the number given by NIH at the bottom, or your submission will be rejected.
Under Comment A. 5. “Other approaches not previously mentioned”
I strongly oppose any changes to the current regulations that would set new, decreased standards for oversight of federally-funded animal research. I oppose proposals by the pro-animal-experimentation community, including those compiled in the 2017 report by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), et al., who are using language in the 21st Century Cures Act to push for less transparency, fewer to no inspections, a weakening of the requirements to search for non-animal methods, and less oversight for animals in laboratories.
It is essential that USDA conduct annual unannounced inspections, and that IACUC’s maintain a twice-yearly inspection schedule. In addition, substantive, international literature searches must be required to identify non-animal alternatives to painful procedures on all vertebrate animals. Full IACUC committee review should be required and no expedited reviews permitted by a single committee member.
Under Comment B. 6. “Other tools or resources not previously mentioned.”
Any efforts to harmonize policies and regulations must not compromise the welfare of animals in laboratories. The best way to align USDA with NIH policy is to protect all vertebrate species, including fish, rats, mice and birds, who are currently exempt and comprise the greatest percentage of animals used. Currently NIH covers these species under provision of the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), but USDA does not. Correcting this deficiency is essential for true harmonization of current policies and regulations.
The best way to reduce the regulatory burden imposed by the costly monitoring of live animals in research is to invest resources toward replacing animal experiments with human-relevant cutting-edge, non-animal technology.
Thank you for taking action to oppose measures that would further weaken an already minimal system of oversight for animals in labs.
Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to highlight and promote research without animals.
Please donate to support CAARE’s mission to end animal suffering by disseminating information about the power and progress of research without animals.