Favoring the Death of Animals: Behind the FDA’s Veil

The Rise for Animals Team, November 30, 2023

Almost one year ago, Congress passed the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, and we joined in the well-warranted celebration. Yet, at the same time, we recognized that the battle to liberate animals from labs remained a starkly uphill one . . . 

. . . because animal experimentation is enshrined in far more than *just* law. 

The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 eliminates the legal requirement that human drugs be tested on other-than-human animals, but, almost 12 months later, the FDA has yet to similarly amend any of its regulations, which continue to require data from other-than-human experiments.

This has prompted nine Congresspersons to send a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf,  lamenting that “‘the FDA has been delinquent in not following the directives of Congress and revamping its archaic regulations relating to animal testing mandates for new drug screening….’” and requesting that the FDA specify “what specific steps [it] is taking to update its animal testing regulations….”

We don’t know how the FDA will respond, but we do know the answer to another of Congress’s questions.

In a tweet last Monday, Rand Paul – a primary sponsor of the FDA Modernization Act – asked the FDA why it is still requiring “animal testing for new drugs” . . . and here we can help. 

The FDA is still requiring animal experimentation because it is a primary facilitator, partner, and beneficiary of the animal research industry:

  • The FDA itself undertakes animal experimentation and is a “sister” agency of the NIH – the world’s largest funder of animal research. (Indeed, “[b]etween 2010 and 2016, every single drug that won approval from the FDA–210 different pharmaceuticals–originated, at least in part, from research funded by the NIH.”)
  • The FDA has become a full-fledged “partner of industry”, has taken on “a new kind of hybrid role as a governmental business”, and shares a “revolving door [with] pharmaceutical companies”.
  • The FDA maintains “an unreceptive environment that fails to encourage innovation and development of more predictive [and ethical] test methods”. 
  • The FDA – just like the broader industry – views “the development of alternatives [to animal experimentation] . . . as a political problem”, “not [] a pressing scientific issue”.

So, just like other facets of the U.S. government, the FDA is the animal research industry, which benefits from the status quo and will fight to protect it. 

We must fight against the animal experimentation industry with far more than the FDA Modernization Act: we must demand an accounting of the political and financial interests at play, and we must remain unequivocal in our demand for change.

If one of your Senators signed onto the letter to the FDA, please send them a message to thank them and let them know that you support an end to animal experimentation!

The more people who know the truth, the stronger our movement to end animal experimentation becomes. Please spread the word among your network.

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