March 9, 2018
Federally-Funded Canine Research at the VA In Focus Again
Federally-funded canine research at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to be in the crosshairs of animal rights organizations. Please take a moment and let Congress know that you support VA’s research to help save and improve the lives of our veterans by clicking here.
Despite opposition from veterans organizations like The American Legion, Association of the U.S. Navy (AUSN), Friends of VA (FOVA), Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), National Defense Committee, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Square Deal for Veterans, and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), there is still interest by some in Congress to remove funding from VA studies if they include Category D or E studies in dogs. NABR, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS), American Brain Coalition (ABC), American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), American Physiological Society (APS), American Psychological Association (APA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), as well as over 40 other scientific and medical organizations also wrote to Congress stating their clear opposition.
Currently Congress is considering H.R. 3197 (the PUPPERS Act) which, simply put, seeks to end funding for VA studies involving canines. NABR has learned that the Congressional Research Service, at the request of a Senator, has requested more details about dogs and cats in federal research programs at Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Defense (DOD), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As we reported last week, AMVETS announced their support for the PUPPERS Act and just Tuesday penned an op-ed in the Washington Times announcing their endorsement.
Don’t let Congress cave to the pressure of animal rights groups and start “de-funding” animal research studies line-by-line. Contact your senators and representatives TODAY by clicking here. It’s quick, easy, and your information is never saved or shared with third-parties. Please also encourage your friends, family, colleagues, on social media to do the same.
NABR Tips for Contacting Congress
Ready to jump off the fence and weigh in with your elected officials? In-person visits, letters, and emails are each an effective way to reach them, but often people are intimidated by the process. NABR has compiled some useful tipsabout effectively communicating with elected representatives that should help make things easier. It’s easier than you think. Feel free to use NABR’s Voter Voice tool for a quick and easy way to find and correspond with your lawmakers.
HSUS Admonished by Illinois Legislature
Late last week, a resolution was introduced by State Representative Daniel Burke (D) admonishing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The resolution encourages residents of Illinois to support local humane societies given the “disrespectful work culture” and “lack of commitment to supporting animals.” It explained only 1% of donations to HSUS in 2016 funded efforts or programs to provide care for animals. HSUS, one of the largest animal rights organizations in the world, has historically been a staunch opponent of animal research and has a section of its website devoted to the “troubling issue of animal research.”
Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriations Announces Retirement
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) announced earlier this week that he will retire from the U.S. Senate on April 1 for health reasons. Elected in 1978, Cochran is chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations. His retirement will lead to two Senate races in Mississippi this fall, as his colleague Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) is also up for reelection. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a temporary replacement for Cochran until a special election in Nov. As for his Chairmanship, the position will be filled by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) who told The New York Times “It would be a great honor, but I’m not there yet,” adding, “I would be interested at the proper time.”
Update on Maryland Mandatory Adoption Bills
Next Tuesday, March 13, the Maryland Appropriations Committee will consider House Bill 732 and are likely to hear testimony from animal rights groups and supporters who, in many cases, oppose animal research. The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 675, was amended to remove a requirement mandating an overly burdensome and duplicative report and passed by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee last night. It will now head to the full Senate for a vote.
How can you help? It is absolutely critical that the Committee and the Senate hear the voices of and testimony from members of the research community. Maryland residents can send a pre-formatted letter to their state senators and state representatives by clicking here. The letter urges the lawmakers to oppose H.B. 732 and S.B. 675. Please also encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and those on social media to do the same. If you don’t live in Maryland, you can still do your part. Please be sure to share this urgent alert with people you may know in the state.
Why do elected leaders in Annapolis need to hear that researchers oppose H.B. 732 and S.B. 675? The House bill still carries an overly burdensome and duplicative reporting requirement pertaining to the inclusion of animals in research. Both bills would also effectively create a “middleman” in the already-established processes used to rehome retired research animals. Even though they already adopt out animals without interference from state governments and with great effectiveness, S.B. 675 and H.B. 732 would require research facilities to provide former research animals to animal rescue organizations for adoption.
S.B. 675 and H.B. 732 are lobbied by the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) (now the Rescue+Freedom Project, or RFP), an organization that has previously advocated for an end to all animal research. The group has publicly vilified animal research and targeted specific institutions regarding their adoption policies. Read this POLITICO story to learn more about the controversial organization.
NABR has already voiced its opposition, but we need your help. Please send this pre-written letter ASAP urging lawmakers in Annapolis to OPPOSE S.B. 675 and H.B. 732. Please also encourage friends, family, colleagues, and social media users to do the same. Using NABR’s letter writing module is simple, quick, easy, and very important in the effort to push back against these bills. Again, even if you don’t live in Maryland you can still help by sharing this critical alert.
S.B. 28 Passes General Assembly in Virginia
Last night the Virginia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 28. It now heads to the desk of Governor Ralph Northam (D) for his expected signature. The bill would prohibit money from the state’s general fund from supporting public or private research with dogs or cats that a.) is considered “medically unnecessary”, or b.) causes “significant pain or distress” to the animal. “Medically unnecessary” is defined as “not carried out solely for the better health, welfare, or safety of the animal subject.” To the best of NABR’s knowledge, no public or private institutions in Virginia use state general funds for such research, rendering the bill’s current language largely preclusive.