September 2023 Enewsletter


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September 29, 2023

Funding foreign animal labs, protection for octopuses, 50 years for primates

Stop Funding Foreign Animal Research Labs!

Congress is considering legislation that would stop the U.S. government from funding foreign animal research labs, which it has done for 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! It 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.

Last March, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the NIH provided $2.2 billion to 200 foreign institutions for approximately 1,300 research projects involving animals from 2011 to 2021. Despite being 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 “there are risks that animal welfare issues may be underreported or misreported,” but that the NIH does not conduct site visits or require third-party verification to ensure that the foreign labs are following proper animal care standards.

Earlier this year, following reports of animal cruelty and neglect, Colombian officials suspended studies at an NIH-funded malaria lab and seized more than 100 owl monkeys and 180 mice. Researchers there had received $17.6 million in NIH funding since 2003, and are also accused of falsifying ethics approvals. That lab is now no longer getting NIH funds, but there is concern that the agency may still be handing out millions of dollars without proper assurances that animal welfare will be protected and research will be conducted with scientific integrity.

We must act now to correct this problem before another horrific incident of animal suffering is uncovered. Please urge your U.S. Representative to support the CARGO Act today!

Other News

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has taken a first step to provide protection for cephalopods (octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish) used in federally funded research. Its proposal would help ensure that pain and distress is minimized and that appropriate veterinary care and treatment is provided. Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic led a coalition of animal groups, including AAVS, in petitioning the NIH to include cephalopods under its definition of “animal” so their welfare could be protected.

Animal testing lab Inotiv is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly offering payment to Cambodian officials to issue permits falsely stating that macaques captured in the wild were captive-bred. Not so coincidently, several employees at Vanny Bio Research, Inotiv’s main monkey supplier in Cambodia, are facing charges for violating the Endangered Species Act by trying to illegally export macaques to the U.S.

Sanctuary Moment

International Primate Protection League

Happy 50th Anniversary IPPL!

The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) advocates on behalf of primates around the world and also operates a sanctuary that is home to 27 gibbons in South Carolina. IPPL was the recipient of one of AAVS’s first sanctuary grants, so we’re thrilled to join them in celebrating their 50th anniversary!

Several gibbons at IPPL were once used in research, including Gibby, who at 64 years of age is believed to be the oldest living gibbon in the U.S. Born in the wild, Gibby was used in locomotion experiments and forced to run on a treadmill until he collapsed. He arrived at IPPL in 2007 and was paired with another gibbon named Tong, who sadly passed away in 2020, a devastating loss since gibbons bond for life. But a year ago, Gibby found love again! He now lives with Shanti, who was also used in research before arriving at the sanctuary.

Founded by Dr. Shirley McGreal, IPPL’s amazing history goes back to Thailand in the 1970s, where IPPL exposed a network of smugglers who captured gibbons in the wild and shipped them to the U.S. To learn more about Dr. McGreal—and her dedication and feistiness that led much of IPPL’s impactful work protecting primates around the world—be sure to check out the group’s latest news magazine. It’s a page-turner!

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