April 30, 2019
Mandatory Adoption Legislation Roundup: Washington, Michigan, Oregon, Congress
In Washington state SB 5212, a mandatory adoption bill, has passed both the state’s House and the Senate. The bill has been delivered to the Governor who is likely to sign the bill into law. This legislation will affect public academic institutions and not corporate institutions. The bill would give a facility’s attending veterinarian final control over determining an animal’s suitability for adoption. The bill has been titled “The Homes for Animal Heroes Act.” Washington will be the eleventh state to pass mandatory adoption legislation. Additionally, legislation is pending in twelve other states. NABR’s mandatory adoption bill tracking map can be found here.
Following the recent Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) infiltration in Michigan, mandatory adoption legislation has also been introduced in Michigan’s state legislature. As written, H.B. 4496, would increase administrative burden, remove control of the adoption process from attending veterinarians, and would apply to both public and private institutions. NABR institutions in Michigan should be engaged with their government affairs staff and be prepared to reach out to their legislators. NABR’s draft comments on the legislation can be found here. In Oregon, work is still being done on SB 638 which has onerous reporting requirements. NABR is working with local members and supporters there as well.
In addition to all of the mandatory adoption action at the state level, NABR has acquired an advanced copy of a draft Federal mandatory adoption bill. This will not be the first time such legislation has been introduced. In December 2018, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced the Humane Retirement Act H.R. 7268.
VA Canine Research Resources
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development has updated its website to include new resources on their canine research program. These resources can be used to help educate the public about canine use in biomedical research, focusing on the VA program specifically.
Included in these resources are videos of the VA’s cough stimulator, a device that was developed by canine research to assist paralyzed veterans, and video context for their canine treadmill stress test. These posts help fight back against mischaracterizations of VA dog research in the media, which have been largely propagated by the White Coat Waste Project.
Upcoming ILAR Webinar on Dogs in Biomedical Research
The National Academies of Science (NAS) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) will be hosting a public webinar on “The Uses of Dogs in Biomedical Research” on Tuesday, May 7, 9:30 am-11:00 am ET.
The webinar is part of the “Assessment of the Care and Use of Dogs in Biomedical Research Funded by or Conducted at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.” The committee will be hearing from two speakers. James Guest, University of Miami, will be giving the “Clinician’s Perspective” on spinal cord injury research in humans. Christine Peterson, University of Iowa will be speaking on infectious disease research using canine models.
Registration is free and open to the public. You can register here. As always, members of the public can submit their comments at the study site at any point during the study.
House FY2020 Appropriations Bill to Prohibit Certain VA Dog Research
The Draft Fiscal 2020 Military Construction-VA Appropriations (MilCon) Bill, in the House of Representatives, includes language that mirrors the PUPPERS Act that would prohibit all Category D and Category E canine research at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This language is more aggressive than language included in a previous omnibus bill that required the Secretary’s approval for all canine protocols. This is a draft bill that has yet to go to the full House Appropriations Committee. The Senate will also be drafting their own appropriations bill. There are likely to be significant differences between the two appropriations bills that will need to be conferenced.
House Subcommittee Draft Bill Provides $2 Billion Increase for NIH
The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee released their draft FY2020 spending bill alongside a press release and summary of the bill.
This bill would provide a $2 billion increase over the National Institutes of Health (NIH) FY2019 budget, with each institute and center receiving a nearly five percent increase in funding. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider this spending bill on Wednesday, May 8. However, it is important to note that whatever spending bill is finalized in the House, the Senate version could be significantly different.
NHP Sanctuary Founder Throws Research under the Bus in Interview
Kari Bagnall, former interior designer and the founder of Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, spoke out against the use of non-human primates (NHP) in research on a local Gainesville, Florida news station. The video and text can be found here. Many in the research community have retired NHPs to sanctuaries, such as this. It isn’t the first time, nor likely to be the last, a nonhuman primate sanctuary makes negative comments to the press about animal research. NABR members are strongly urged to consider these factors when selecting a retirement facility.
APHIS Changes Enforcement Summary Postings
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced that in order to promote compliance, the agency will be posting its enforcement activity summary in a new format. This will allow the public to view enforcement activities and annual data in one central location. APHIS will be archiving previous annual reports to avoid confusion, as the new reports will be in a different format and not easily comparable. The information will be found here.
Revision to the USDA’s Animal Welfare Inspection Guide
Chapter 7 of the Research Facility Inspection of the Animal Welfare Inspection Guide has been revised and is available at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/Animal-Care-Inspection-Guide.pdf. The revised version is 22 pages shorter than the previous version. NABR is currently reviewing the new version and will be providing an analysis of the changes when our review is complete.
Worth the Read: “What Animal-Rights Activists Forget”
This week the National Review published an article entitled “What Animal-Rights Activists Forget.” The article calls out PETA for their tactics targeting research that serve to jeopardize not only human health, but animal health, as well. NABR and FBR president, Matt Bailey, recently published an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, detailing how “cutting off funding for animal research would prove deadly for humans.” Both of these articles were written in response to PETA’s recent campaign calling for massive cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget.
Next NABR Webinar: Q&A with the USDA – The Seventh Edition
NABR is once again pleased to announce the return of one of its most requested webinars, the Seventh Edition of “Q&A with the USDA.” Join USDA-APHIS’ Deputy Administrator for Animal Care Bernadette Juarez and Dr. Cody Yager, Supervisory Animal Care Specialist, for “Q&A with the USDA: The Seventh Edition” on Wednesday, July 10th, 12:30 pm ET.
This webinar provides NABR members with a unique opportunity to ask questions directly to the leadership of Animal Care’s Animal Welfare Operations who are responsible for the oversight of the inspection and reporting process. Since the last Q&A webinar, a lot has happened including the release of the Draft Report on Reducing the Administrative Burden for Researchers: Animal Care and Use in Research, revisions to the Animal Care Policy Manual and Animal Welfare Inspection Guide and a Proposed Rule to Amend the Requirements for Licensing and the Care of Dogs. To better understand what impact these and other ongoing changes may have on your institution, you should take advantage of this unique opportunity provided exclusively to NABR members where your questions concerning compliance with the Animal Welfare Regulations will be answered.
Questions should be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be reviewed and formatted to prevent duplication and will be answered in the order they are received, so please submit them as soon as possible. As in the past, we will schedule the session for an hour but will continue the webinar until all questions have been addressed. You can register for the webinar here.