Bill Will Reduce Animal Testing
As early as Tuesday, Congress is expected to vote on the final version of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a bill to revise the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Important animal protection amendments to the bill have survived tough negotiations between factions in the House and Senate. Those amendments will introduce a whole new approach to regulating chemicals that is desperately needed. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the author of the amendments, said at a press conference last week, “This bill is going to save hundreds and hundreds of thousands of [animal] lives.” (If you are a New Jersey resident, please convey special thanks to Senator Booker.)
Of course, the primary intent of the legislation, which has been years in the making for years, is to protect people and the environment. The Lautenberg Act will strengthen oversight of potentially dangerous chemicals, while including strong provisions that modernize testing and instruct government agencies to implement alternative methods to evaluate chemicals.
Lab with Shocking AWA Violations Shut Down
AAVS applauds USDA for reaching a settlement agreement following multiple complaints filed against Santa Cruz Biotechnology (SCBT), one of the world’s largest suppliers of antibodies. The company became notorious in recent years for gross animal welfare violations, particularly regarding its lack of care and treatment of hundreds of goats. As part of the settlement, SCBT agrees to cancel its research license, and USDA is revoking its dealer license and levying a historical fine of $3.5 million.
“This is an unprecedented outcome, but, considering the numbers of animals affected, appropriate. It should send a strong message to laboratories and dealers,” said Sue Leary, President of AAVS. “We thank our members and other dedicated animal organizations for urging USDA to take decisive action against Santa Cruz Biotechnology.”
USDA inspection reports of SCBT facilities documented several goats who were so thin that they had “protruding hips, ribs, and spinal processes,” while others suffered from broken legs, as well as various skin conditions, hair loss, nasal discharge, respiratory problems, and anemia. Despite these painful conditions, SCBT continued to collect blood from injured and sick animals to harvest antibodies, further exacerbating the suffering of those already experiencing physical and mental anguish. The most blatant violation involved the repeated denial of a barn housing 841 housing goats that had been in operation for at least two and a half years.
Chimps Need NY Lab to Keep its Promise
On Thursday, animal advocates joined New York State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal at a press conference in NYC where they urged the New York Blood Center (NYBC) to keep its promise to care for the 60 chimpanzees it abandoned in Liberia last year. The chimps are now being supported by a coalition led by The Humane Society of the U.S. Despite exploiting these chimps in research for decades, NYBC continues to shirk its responsibility to provide for their lifetime care. While NYBC is ignoring pleas from the public, it might listen if a major funder like MetLife threatens to stop its support.
Johns Hopkins Drops Live Animal Labs
Medical schools used to teach surgery in ‘dog labs,’ in which dogs were anesthetized and various procedures were demonstrated before they were killed. Due to advances in technology, and objections by students, alumni, and advocates, most medical schools discontinued these labs. Johns Hopkins University Medical School instead switched to pigs, but objections continued. The university announced last week that, following a course review and ethical considerations, students will no longer use animals and will instead use surgical training simulators.