Stop Funding Foreign Animal Research Labs
Support the CARGO Act (H.R. 4757)
The U.S. federal government has been funding foreign animal research labs for many years, with little oversight, putting animal lives at risk. However, the Cease Animal Research Grants Overseas Act of 2023 (CARGO Act) could end this practice!
The CARGO Act would amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from providing “support (including any grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or technical assistance) for any activity or program that uses live animals for research” at facilities located outside the U.S.
Concerns about animal welfare at NIH-funded foreign labs were raised in March when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the NIH provided approximately $2.2 billion to 200 foreign institutions for approximately 1,300 research projects involving animals from 2011 to 2021. Although required to do so, the NIH has not provided proper oversight to ensure the welfare of animals at these labs. Instead, it relies on foreign facilities to self-report information about animal care and use. The GAO found that, because of this, “there are risks that animal welfare issues may be underreported or misreported,” but that the “NIH does not take steps—such as conducting site visits or requiring third-party verification—to ensure that award recipients are accurately representing the care and use of laboratory animals.”
For example, earlier this year Colombian officials suspended studies at a malaria lab funded by the NIH and seized more than 100 owl monkeys and 180 mice, following reports of alleged cruelty and neglect. Researchers at the lab received $17.6 million in NIH funding since 2003 and are also accused of falsifying ethics approvals. Thankfully, the NIH announced in July that the Caucaseco Scientific Research Consortium, which includes the malaria lab, is no longer eligible for NIH funding.
However, there is concern that the NIH may still be handing over millions of dollars without proper assurance that animal welfare will be protected and that research will be conducted with scientific integrity. We cannot wait until another horrific incident and more animal suffering is uncovered. Urge your Representative to support the CARGO Act!