April 13, 2018

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins Testifies at FY19 Budget Hearing

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on Wednesday to discuss the FY 2019 budget. Dr. Collins received nearly universal, bipartisan support for the work that NIH has done over the years. Many of the questions predominating the hearing revolved around the current opioid crisis and what work was being done to treat and prevent addiction. During one exchange with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Dr. Collins discussed how technology is rapidly changing the research arena, using a “kidney on a chip” as an example. The consensus of the hearing was that, in strained financial times, the money spent on NIH was a worthwhile investment given the current opioid crisis and continued need for biomedical research. Dr. Collins noted that nearly 100% of the drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2010 and 2016 benefited in some way by NIH’s involvement. Please click here if you’d like the view the hearing.

House Agriculture Committee Releases 2018 Farm Bill

Yesterday the House Agriculture Committee released their text of the 2018 Farm Bill. Why is this important to the research community? The Farm Bill effects virtually all actions taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the agency’s oversight of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This bill is a perennial target by animal rights groups for use as a vehicle to enact further restrictions on animal research. NABR has reviewed the text of the bill ahead of the markup scheduled for Wednesday, April 18 and found no language of concern to animal research. The Senate has yet to release its version of the bill. The question of whether a House version would be introduced was in doubt due to controversy over nutrition and food stamps issuesPlease visit the House Agriculture Committee’s web page on the Farm Bill to read the bill, fact sheets, and other resources.

House Speaker Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Reelection in November

The office of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced on Wednesdaymorning that he will not seek reelection this fall to his seat in Congress. Ryan has been in Congress since 1999 and replaced then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2015. He noted in a call to colleagues that he plans to finish out his term in the House. Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the Majority Whip, and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Leader, are early names to replace Ryan as Speaker.

Rhode Island: Mandatory Adoption Bill Passes House

Earlier this week H.7414 was passed by the full House in Rhode Island. Simply put the bill would mandate the adoption of former research dogs and cats. It now heads to the Senate where it awaits a committee assignment. NABR, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), and States United for Biomedical Research (SUBR) submitted written testimony in opposition to H.7414 when it was considered by the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. Jim O’Reilly, President of the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research (MSMR), was the sole witness testifying in-person against the measure.


Maryland Research Animal Bill ‘Neutered,’ Say Animal Activists

NABR reported Monday that Senate Bill 675 passed the Maryland legislature last week and heads to Governor Larry Hogan (R) for his consideration. Bill sponsor Ben Kramer (D-19) has now stated in local media that the bill was “completely neutered” once amendments were agreed upon that would permit researcher institutions to conduct their own adoptions of former research animals and to remove overly burdensome reporting mandates. Kramer told Bethesda Magazine that he is contemplating a legislative push to outlaw research with companion animals. “If we can’t get any reporting on what they’re doing, then maybe we just need to prohibit the practice,” said Kramer. Rescue + Freedom Project (formerly the Beagle Freedom Project) was interviewed and quoted in the article. “What we see across the country is that animals that could potentially be adoptable are getting euthanized,” said Matt Rossell, campaign and policy director for the organization. To read the story, please click here.

The Jackson Laboratory Holds Congressional Staff Briefing on Alzheimer’s Research

On Wednesday, The Jackson Laboratory held a lunch briefing for Congressional staff titled, “Advancing Alzheimer’s research with NIA funding.” Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) hosted the event which featured Gareth Howell, Ph.D., Associate Professor at The Jackson Laboratory, and Bruce Lamb, Ph.D., Roberts Family Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Executive Director of the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at the Indiana University School of Medicine, as speakers. Attendees heard the speakers discuss the efforts to break the bottleneck in developing new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease and how the National Institute on Aging (NIA) plans to provide $25 million over five years to establish and fund the MODEL-AD program. The MODEL-AD program aims to develop and distribute new animal models of late onset Alzheimer’s disease to serve as predictive models in preclinical screening.

Congressional Humane Awards Event Held on Capitol Hill

Wednesday night the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) hosted their annual awards event on Capitol Hill. The 2017 Humane Legislators of the Year awards went to Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). HSLF deems Rep. Smith a leading Republican in the animal rights movement, leading an annual letter to the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee seeking funds for enforcement of animal welfare laws. The Committee has steadily pushed funding for enforcement of the AWA budget upwards from $9 million dollars to now nearly $31 million for the 2018 fiscal year. Smith has also opposed USDA’s removal of inspection reports from their website and outsourcing of AWA oversight to third-party inspectors. Rep. Roybal-Allard was acknowledged for her pivotal role in appropriations report language preventing the USDA from issuing licenses for Class B dealers who sell dogs and cats for use in research in addition to pushing the NIH to expand the national chimpanzee sanctuary system. Roybal-Allard blocked the U.S. Coast Guard from using animals for critical trauma training for a period of approximately six months as well as supported the FACT Act (H.R. 816). Finally, like Rep. Smith, she has been a vocal critic of USDA’s removal of certain inspection reports from their website. Please take a moment to review HSLF’s scorecard for Members of Congress.

World Day for Animals in Labs is April 23

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has named Monday, April 23 as World Day for Animals in Labs. Events are planned for across the globe, from Australia to Panama to the U.K. and the U.S. DxE is planning events in Asheville, NC, Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Raleigh, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. To view the Facebook page with details on each event, please click here.

As a refresher, DxE describes itself as “grassroots network of animal rights activists working to create a world where every animal is safe, happy and free.” It aims to accomplish this through “community building, open rescue, and disruptive protest.” On April 23, DxE says that “Chapters can choose to target a university involved in animal research, a government institution that regulates or oversees animal research or a company that profits off animal research. Activists can recreate a scene from an animal research facility, with one or more activists in a cage (possibly covered in fake blood or other visual) and others acting as researchers wearing lab coats, with fake syringes, etc.”

Important: Update Your NABR Contact List Today

Imagine one of these scenarios… Your institution is on the front page of the local paper because of baseless allegations by an animal rights infiltrator. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) campaign is being carried out against your research by a well-known activist, or a piece of legislation has been introduced at the state or federal level that will have a negative impact on how your institution conducts research. NABR then connects with the appropriate personnel at your institution only to discover they are no longer employed. Don’t let this happen. The contact lists of some NABR member institutions are out of date. Is yours one of them? Please contact us ASAP at info@nabr.orgwith your organization’s most current listing for important contacts like IACUC staff, institutional officials, veterinarians, animal care staff, site security, legal counsel, PR staff, and government relations teams, and others you believe would be benefit from your organization’s NABR membership. Doing so, enables NABR to provide your team with the top-notch service you’ve come to expect over the years. Thank you for your assistance.

Last Chance to Register for NABR's Next Can't-Miss Webinar!

This is your last chance to register for NABR’s next webinar, "Infiltrators – The Insider Threat." If you've been waiting to register, we suggest you reserve your spot immediately. Because of extraordinary demand for this webinar, we will not be able to accommodate same-day registrations.

The webinar is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 17.

John Sancenito, our guest presenter, is a former law enforcement professional and president of INA, an international security consulting and risk management firm headquartered in Harrisburg, PA. Mr. Sancenito is considered one of the foremost experts in animal rights and environmental extremism.

Animal rights and environmental activists often use infiltration to clandestinely gain employment -- with hostile or subversive intent -- at a facility or organization. The goal is to surreptitiously obtain information for use against the targeted company. Infiltration is a real threat for all animal use and care programs, and since 1981, there have been 89 verified infiltrations at research laboratories with animal care and use programs. Many animal rights extremists still consider this technique to be the backbone of the movement. Animal rights groups actively recruit, train, and deploy infiltrators to further their goal of ending the humane use of animals in research.

This is a must-see presentation that will feature an analysis of the techniques used by activist infiltrators. You can also expect to learn how to protect your institution from such threats. Please register today!

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