NIH: Strengthen Animal Welfare Requirements
Last year, powerful animal research proponents tried to push their agenda in an attempt to reduce the so-called “regulatory administrative burden” for researchers using animals in experiments. This could have drastically compromised the welfare of hundreds of thousands of animals in labs!
AAVS asked you to speak out to help stop this. You did AND you were heard! A report released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that this risk to weaken regulatory oversight and transparency has been reduced.
However, the report raises other issues that could negatively impact animal welfare. Prime among them is the disclosure that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency charged with protecting the welfare of animals in labs, has removed its Animal Care Policy Manual from its website and called it “inoperative” while it conducts a “review.”
The Policy Manual is a critical aid for USDA inspectors and animal research facilities, providing specific guidance to help ensure compliance with animal welfare regulations and laws. Not having the Policy Manual readily available leaves a gap where researchers can interpret regulations as they wish. USDA caved in to research lobbyists’ interests when it pulled down the Policy Manual.
Please provide feedback on the report by telling NIH and its agency partners that animal welfare should never be compromised nor be considered a “burden.” Ask that any policy or regulatory changes always default to the highest standard of care and treatment for animals. If you can personalize our sample message, that would be ideal. Comments are due February 20!
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