March 26, 2018
Trump Picks HIV/AIDS Researcher as New CDC Director
President Donald Trump has named Robert Redfield as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His appointment comes after former Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned following a POLITCO investigation revealing she had traded tobacco, food, and drug stocks while leading the agency. Redfield, a clinical scientist and former Army doctor, co-founded the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also previously served on President George W. Bush’s HIV/AIDS advisory panel and in various advisory roles at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The decision has been criticized because of Redfield’s earlier research and views, controversies that POLITICO highlights in coverage of his appointment. He has, however, received the support of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who said in a statement, “Although I seldom agree with the Trump administration, I am in complete agreement that Dr. Bob Redfield is the best choice to lead the CDC.”
Animal Research Briefing to be Held on Thursday on Capitol Hill
On Thursday, March 29 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. the American Psychological Association, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, American Society of Primatologists, Comparative Cognition Society, Developmental Neurotoxicology Society, International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers, and Research Society on Alcoholism will sponsor a briefing for Members of Congress and their staff about animals in basic research titled, “Animal Research Matters: Understanding Behavior and Improving Health.” The presentation will cover three areas: how learning occurs and why behavioral training works, how the brain develops and is affected by environmental toxins, and how memory operates and why that matters for understanding the aging brain. It will be held in room 268 of the Capitol Visitors Center. Lunch will be served. The event is open to the public, so if you’d like to attend, please RSVP here. For more information on the briefing, please see the flier here.
Maryland: SB675 to be Heard by House Committee Next Week
Senate Bill 675, legislation that would require research programs to give retired dogs and cats to animal adoption groups, is slated to be heard by the House Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, April 3 at 1 p.m. In a previous hearing before the committee on the House companion bill, House Bill 732, Delegate Ben Kramer (D-19), the bill’s sponsor, called for the Committee to reject amendments that would (1) permit researchers to conduct their own adoptions of former research animals and (2) remove overly burdensome and troublesome reporting mandates. “If we can’t find out what you’re doing, then we need to stop what you are doing,” threatened the Delegate in his testimony, adding that if the bill isn’t passed this year, “We will be visiting prohibitions.” SB675 does include such amendments. HB732 did not meet the March 19 deadline for bills to advance and thus is defeated for this legislative session.
How can you help? It is absolutely critical that the legislature hear the voices of 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.
HumaneWatch.org Reports HSUS Loses BBB Accreditation
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of the largest animal rights organizations in the world, has historically been a staunch opponent of animal research and devotes a section of its website to the “troubling issue of animal research.” Just last week, it was reported by HumaneWatch.org that the organization has lost its accreditation from the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) charity-accreditation arm, the Wise Giving Alliance (BBB WGA). Apparently, the BBB has not yet issued a statement. HumaneWatch.org estimates the decision was made because of recent allegations of inappropriate behavior at HSUS leading to the resignation of Wayne Pacelle, former president and CEO. Kitty Block has since been tapped to replace Pacelle, and the Washington Posttoday covered the organization’s efforts to move forward.
USDA Database Issue in the News
As you’ll recall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) temporarily disabled its searchable database of animal welfare inspection reports and records last year. Just last week, Science highlighted efforts from Congress and others to take steps to avoid further problems with the database in an article that featured Matt Bailey, president of NABR. Bailey told Science: “I am currently not aware of any heavily redacted research compliance reports. In fact, we have continued to successfully retrieve the information we need for our compliance analyses.” He added: “If the website were to become inoperable, we would still be at liberty to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for the same information.” To read Science’s story, please click here.
The Scientist Covers Research Animal Adoption
In case you missed it, The Scientist published an article about the adoption of dogs and cats from research programs, along with legislative efforts by the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), now the Rescue and Freedom Project (R+FP), to require adoption practices that are already underway at many institutions. The article features an interview with Cindy Buckmaster, a molecular physiologist at the Baylor College of Medicine, who discussed research’s efforts to rehome animals no longer needed in studies. It also features the perspective of Bob Adams, head of research animal resources at Johns Hopkins University, and the story of how he adopted Louie, a former research canine. Please click here to read The Scientist’s coverage, and feel free to leave a supportive note in the comments section.
Animal Research Statistics Published by Three European Countries
France, Italy, and the Netherlands have published their 2016 statistics for animal research.
- France conducted 1,918,481 procedures with animals in 2016, a 0.9% increase from 2015.
- Italy conducted 611,707 procedures with animals in 2016, a 4.3% increase from 2015.
- The Netherlands conducted 403,370 procedures with animals in 2016, a 15.9% decrease from 2015.
Speaking of Research did an in-depth analysis of what these numbers mean for science. To read their report, please click here.