March 30, 2018

77 Members of Congress Write to USDA About Concerns with Third-Party Inspections

Earlier this week, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and 75 other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concern with the concept of using third-party inspections for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The letter raises questions about the efficacy of such inspections, noting the USDA’s past experiences with the Horse Protection Act (HPA). Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) said on record, “Outsourcing inspections of puppy mills, roadside zoos, labs and other facilities is a terrible idea that has rightly drawn strong bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill and by an overwhelming share of citizens at USDA's ‘listening sessions’ on this proposal.” Rep. Boyle said in a statement, “The USDA is proposing to abandon one of its core responsibilities to oversee the humane treatment of animals, as required by federal law.” Is your Congressperson a signatory on the letter? You can read the letter here. To read the full news release by Rep. Boyle, please click here.

Quick Update on Mandatory Adoption Legislation

On Monday, a bill was introduced in Pennsylvania that would require institutions of higher education, as well as those who work with them, to find adoptive homes for cats and dogs no longer needed in biomedical research, even though research instructions already do so with great effectiveness. House Bill 2164 has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee where it awaits a hearing. No date has been scheduled. The Co-Sponsorship Memorandum notes that HB2164 was introduced by the sponsor at the request of a constituent, reinforcing the need that NABR members interface with their state legislators.

In Maryland, a similar bill, Senate Bill 675, will be heard at 1 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 3 by the House Appropriations Committee. SB675 contains amendments to remove overly burdensome, duplicative, and troublesome reporting requirements -- amendments that the House bill’s sponsor, Delegate Ben Kramer (D-19), does not support. “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 on the failed House companion, adding that if the bill isn’t passed this year, “We will be visiting prohibitions.” Maryland legislators need to hear from you! The legislature must hear the voices of members of the research community that they oppose SB675. Maryland residents can send a pre-formatted letter to their state senators and state representatives by clicking here. The letter urges the lawmakers to reject SB675. Please also encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and those on social media to do the same. Even 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.

The Delaware Senate Health & Human Development Committee passed Senate Bill 101 on Wednesday. Introduced in June of last year, SB101 is similar, if not identical, to the other pieces of research animal adoption legislation that NABR is tracking. The bill will now be considered by the full Senate. The legislature is set to adjourn on June 30, 2018.

Finally, in a bit of good news, Senate Bill 6624 in Washington failed to advance before the legislature adjourned on March 8. It was introduced just days before the legislature ended its 2018 session and was not granted consideration. It will not carry over into 2019.

Space Going Quickly for NABR’s Next Webinar

Have you registered for NABR’s next webinar, "Infiltrators – The Insider Threat?" The webinar is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 17. Space is limited, so please register today if you’d like to attend.

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 as a tactic in an attempt 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 their movement. As a result, 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 where techniques used by activist infiltrators will be examined and you’ll learn how to protect your institution from such threats. Please register today!