Last night’s election results are still coming in for some districts, but today’s picture is generally clear. The Republican party retained its majority in the U.S. Senate, with some speculating that majority is likely to increase over the next two years. Meanwhile, the Democratic party won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. As of this writing the margin is 220 Democrats to 194 Republicans, with 218 being the magic number for a majority. As NABR readers know, opponents to animal research exist in both major political parties, so there will likely some animal research-related problems in either the House or the Senate. However, for many, the outlook for legislative progress over the next two years may look like gridlock.
The White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) took a couple of losses on election day. Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), lead sponsor of the PUPPERS Act, lost his re-election bid in Virginia’s 7th congressional district. Rep. Brat had joined WCWP’s efforts to outlaw canine research projects at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Additionally, Rep. Mike Bishop, the lead sponsor of the KITTEN Act, also lost his re-election bid in Michigan’s 8th congressional district. The KITTEN Act is another bill advocated by the WCWP and it aims to outlaw feline research examining toxoplasmosis at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To read NABR’s bill summaries for the PUPPERS and KITTEN Act, see: https://www.nabr.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/H.R.-3197-8-16-2017.pdf and https://www.nabr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/KITTEN-Act-Analysis-1.pdf.
You can also view an updated list of Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) endorsed candidates here: http://elections.hslf.org/. While not a guarantee, an HSLF endorsement can often indicate a candidate has the potential to be hostile to animal research.
Win for Research in Mt. Horeb!
In another bit of good news, the dog and cat research ban ballot question in Mt. Horeb, WI was defeated yesterday in a 41.2% (yes) - 58.8% (no) vote. The margin for victory in this case was less than 700 votes. Mt. Horeb is a bedroom community of Madison, WI located near a significant research breeder. The animal rights group Dane4Dogs as well as Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) supporters had previously set their sights on the municipality as a proving ground for additional measures in other areas such as Dane County, WI.
This positive result highlights both the need to stay engaged in local elections and the importance you, as individual research advocates, can have on the public policy process. It was only through a concerted effort by many in our community that this ballot question was defeated. But the fight is far from over. Your effort and engagement with the public and legislators can and will have a powerful effect, which is important because NABR anticipates seeing more municipal efforts to ban animal research in the future.
Our sister organization, the Foundation for Biomedical Research’s materials were used to educate the public on the importance of animal research. The resources were also effective in informing local media about the benefits of animal research.
No matter how you voted, NABR would like to thank everyone who took the time to engage in one of our most important civic duties.
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