Tell the NIH to Maintain Protections for Animals in Research

Nathan Herschler, December 7, 2018

Today, the members of a working group made up of federal employees released a draft report that stacks the deck against animals suffering in lab experiments. The report’s recommendations are in direct conflict with the law that created that working group, and should be rejected out of hand by Congress.

Because of a 2016 law named the 21st Century Cures Act, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), formed a working group tasked with “reviewing applicable regulations for the care and use of laboratory animals and make revisions, as appropriate, to reduce administrative burden on [animal experimenters] while maintaining the integrity and credibility of research findings and protection of research animals.” (Emphasis added).

Unfortunately, the proposed regulatory and policy changes reflected in this draft document fail to meet the spirit and intent of the language Congress passed. Specifically, the recommendations generated by this working group fail to adequately maintain and protect research animals, which is explicitly required by the 21st Century Cures Act, the Animal Welfare Act, and the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy.

Instead, the government proposes reducing direct oversight over animal experimenters, reducing transparency into how tax dollars are spent, promoting a research animal interest group, and making it more difficult for groups like NEAVS to get information about animal welfare violations.

Congress asked for ways to reduce red tape; They didn’t want this working group to simply give a wish list of ways experimenters could reduce transparency and be less accountable to the public, which is what these recommendations consist of.

You can help stop Congress from adopting these recommendations.

Right now our government is accepting comments on these unfair recommendations. You can help protect animals with your comment today.

We have drafted sample text for you to use to make your comment. Feel free to customize this as you wish:

I am concerned that a move is underway to reduce protections for animals, and oversight into how they’re treated. The 21ST Century Cures Act Working Group’s recommendations released this week are extreme and fail to maintain required protections for research animals. Specific examples include:

I support one reporting schedule only so long as that schedule represents the highest animal welfare standards.I am concerned about the stated plan to review the guidance in the National Institutes for Health Guide Notice NOT-OD-05-034. I do not want to see this Guide Notice reduce the examples or breadth of reportable situations, extend the timeline for reporting, or the information required in reports.I reject the practice of allowing a single member of an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to review a proposed animal use protocol or modification of an existing protocol. This is contradictory to the intent of the Animal Welfare Act, and is contrary to the intent of the 21st Century Cures Act.

Thank you for your time and consideration of these comments.

You can stop these cruel and unfair recommendations from taking effect. A few minutes of your time can make all the difference for animals used for experimentation.

Update: The comment period has ended but you can help animals by visiting our advocacy page. Thank you!