February 28, 2019
Federal HEARTS Act Focuses on Alternatives to Animal Research
H.R. 1209 has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Sponsored by Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), the “Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences Act of 2019” would amend the Public Health Service Act by instituting numerous additional review processes related to the use of alternatives to animal models in research. Irrespective of the fact that Animal Welfare Act-mandated IACUCs already deliberate the use of alternatives to animals, this bill would appear to significantly increase administrative burden on investigators and institutions without increasing the integrity and credibility of the research findings. The requirements in this bill also appear to be in direct conflict of the 21st Century Cures Act mandate to reduce administrative burden on investigators who work with animal models.
NABR Seeks YOUR Opinion Regarding Mandatory Adoption Policies
Mandatory adoption legislation has passed in 9 states, is currently pending in 13 states, and was introduced at the federal level at the end of the 115th Congress. NABR would like to collect more information on adoption policy considerations, among its members.
Thank you to all of you who have already recorded your responses. If you have not yet had the chance, lease take some time to fill out this short survey. Survey results will be helpful in evaluating the community’s primary concerns when developing an institutional adoption policy or when facing mandatory adoption legislation. The results of this survey will remain private, within NABR, and will not be shared. If such legislation has not yet been introduced in your state, it likely will be at some point in the future. NABR is aware of at least two more states that will likely introduce bills this year.
Two Problematic Bills Surface in California
A bill has been introduced in California, AB 889, that would impact animal research in the state. The bill would require all persons seeking to use or keep animals for “diagnostic purposes, education, or research” to submit an application with the State Department of Public Health. The application would include “total number of animals kept during the previous year and the purposes for which each animal was used.” In addition, the bill would require the “department to establish and maintain a publicly accessible online database of information obtained from those applications.” Current practice in California allows for research facilities’ USDA registration in lieu of the application to the State. If this legislation is passed, all animal research facilities in the entire state would be available to animal rights groups. The California Biomedical Research Association (CBRA) has stated that they will fight this bill. The legislation is being supported by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) which has recently been targeting medical schools for their use of animals in surgical training.
Another piece of legislation, introduced in California, AB 1586, aims to eliminate all animal dissection teaching methods in the state. The bill, otherwise known as the “Replacing Animals in Science Education Act” (RAISE Act), is supportedby People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). This legislation would apply to both public and private institutions, kindergarten and grades 1 through 12. It would prohibit dissection of both vertebrates (i.e. frogs, fetal pigs, etc.) and invertebrates (i.e. worms).
“Homes for Animal Heroes Act” Passes New Jersey Senate
S.B. 2826, the “Homes for Animal Heroes Act” has passed unanimously in the New Jersey state Senate. The bill, supported by the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research (NJABR), ensures that institutions maintain their current adoption policies for dogs and cats. The bill is also supported by the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA). Their “Homes for Animal Heroes” program is the namesake of the bill. The legislation will now go on to the Assembly for consideration.
MA State Bill Introduced on Animal Testing
HB 1228, introduced in Massachusetts, is aimed at “requiring the use of test methods that avoid or reduce unnecessary product testing on animals,” according to State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (D). The bill, supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), would prevent institutions, when conducting ingredient or product testing, from using “a traditional animal test method for which an appropriate alternative test method or strategy exists.” Though this statement seems to conducive to the 3Rs philosophy, but the bill text is unclear about what constitutes an “appropriate alternative test method or strategy” and could be used by groups, such as HSUS and NEAVS, to prevent what they deem “unnecessary” animal tests before the science could feasibly replace them.
ISVMA Opposes Illinois Bill that could Allow Animal Rights Groups to File Cases on Behalf of Research Animals
HB 1631, in Illinois, would allow the court to appoint attorneys and law students as advocates for cats and dogs, in addition to the special legal protections that the animals already have. The bill would allow for the court, or any other concerned party, to prosecute a case involving the “injury, health, or safety or a cat or dog.” With no research exemption, if this bill is passed, it is likely that animal rights groups would intervene on behalf of cats and dogs in research. This bill is opposed by the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA).
NhRP Continues Fight for Elephant Freedom Despite Legal Setbacks
In 2018, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), filed for habeas corpus for three elephants, housed in a Connecticut-based petting zoo. Litchfield Superior Court Judge James Bentivegna stated that the writ of habeas corpus was “wholly frivolous” and NhRP did not have the standing to release the elephants to a California sanctuary. NhRP responded with a second petition for habeas corpus, which was also dismissed due to its similarity to the initial petition. Despite being hit with continuous roadblocks to this case, NhRP will either be filing an appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court or a motion for rehearing in front of Litchfield Superior Court Judge Dan Shaban, who dismissed the second petition.
Congressional Briefing: Research with Nonhuman Primates, Advancing Health and Scientific Knowledge
On Wednesday March 6, 2019 from 12:00pm-1:30pm EST, in Washington, D.C., a coalition of scientific societies under Supporting Truth about Animal Research (STAR) will be hosting a timely congressional briefing about the critical role of nonhuman primates in research. This is particularly important considering the anti-NHP research bill introduced by Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) at the end of the last Congress. Topics will include treatments for opioid abuse and Parkinson’s disease, as well as development of prosthetic devises for individuals with paralysis and other movement disorders. NABR will be attending and encourages other DC-area science organizations to support this educational effort. Please RSVP.
NABR’s Next Webinar: Animal Law and the Animal Research Community
Join us, on Tuesday April 23, 2019, when Jerrold Tannenbaum Professor Emeritus of Veterinary and Animal Ethics and Law, School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California Davis will discuss “Animal Law and the Animal Research Community.”
He will emphasize what the research community needs to know and do to address one of the most important threats to animal research: the recent emergence of the new field of animal law. Professor Tannebaum will discuss how animal law has become a central tool of animal activists in opposing animal research. He will also look at the significance of a development in activist legal theory that has thus far been ignored by many in the research community. He will emphasize that it is essential for supporters of animal research to understand how animal activists are attempting to use the law to achieve their aims, and to think seriously about what the research community should do. To register for this free-to-NABR-Members webinar:
Applications Open for Two AAALAC Awards
Applications are open for the Global 3Rs Awards Program. The program recognizes contributions toward the 3Rs to advance ethical science. Any biological researcher in academia or industry can be nominated. The awards will be presented in 2019, for $5,000 each. Award nominations should be based on a primary research paper, published in the last three years, that advances any of the 3Rs. The deadline for application is June 1, 2019: www.aaalac.org/news/Global-3Rs-Awards.cfm.
The AAALAC International Fellowship Award applications are also open. The ward, presented by AAALAC International through grants from Priority One Services, Inc. and Datesand Group Ltd., is in in cooperation with AALAS, IAT, the Medical Research Council, and the National Institutes of Health. There will be two awards, one IAT Registered (RAnTech) and one AALAS Registered. The IAT Registered award deadline is June 1, 2019. The deadline for the AALAS Registered award is October 1, 2019. More information can be found at https://www.aaalac.org/about/fellowship.cfm.