How many animals is the government using in toxicology experiments?
If you can believe it, no one in the federal government can say with any degree of certainty. The number may be as high as 100 million, but we can’t say for sure without this law passing.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) routinely and rightly chastises federal agencies for not keeping a basic inventory of their “property.” Sadly, that’s exactly the problem with these animals, too.
Here’s how we got to this point:
19 years ago, Congress called for a reduction in animal experiments
In 2000, Congress was frustrated that federal agencies still engaged in animal experiments weren’t making adequate progress toward the Three Rs (reduce the number of animals used, replace animal tests with other non-animal methods and refine experiments to make them less painful on the animals).
So that year, Congress passed Rep. Calvert’s wonderful legislation creating Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods. Known as ICCVAM, its purpose was to reduce, replace, or refine the use of animals in toxicity testing.
Now, Congress wants that law strengthened, forcing federal agencies to disclose the number of animals labs
Rep. Calvert (R-CA), introduced great legislation last week (HR 249, the FACT Act) that would finally force every federal agency involved in toxicology testing on animals to disclose annually exactly how many animals they’re using. The law would also require agencies to report on progress they’re making toward reducing these numbers and using alternative testing methods.
Forcing the worst offenders to be transparent
Here are four of the worst offenders—agencies that would have to collect and disclose this information to taxpayers like you, who are paying for these animal tests:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
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