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NABR Update – May 31, 2019

May 31, 2019

New AVMA Policy on Research Dog and Cat Adoption

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has published a new policy regarding the adoption of dogs and cats used in research. The policy states that “The AVMA supports the adoption of healthy, post-study, research and teaching animals into long-term, private homes as companion animals through the use of adoption programs developed and managed by research institutions.” This well-considered policy provides excellent guidance for institutions that are evaluating or developing their own research animal adoption procedures and policies. The entirety of the policy can be found here.

Suggestions include involving the Attending Veterinarian in adoption approvals, as well as emphasizing the duties and responsibilities of potential adopters. Individuals that adopt retired research animals need thorough education of the animal’s medical history and any special needs the animal might have. The adoption process should also include an emphasis on long-term adoption. It is important to emphasize, however, that there are cases which, due to experimental protocol and scientific necessity, adoption is not a viable option.

Two Federal Mandatory Adoption Bills Introduced in the House

There are currently two different mandatory adoption bills in the House of Representatives. Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) have introduced H.R. 2897, also known as the AFTER Act. While bill text is not yet available online, NABR has obtained a draft of the bill. As written in the draft, the legislation would only apply to federal agencies and would require said agencies to have a formal research animal adoption policy in place. White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) has announced their support of this bill, calling it Violet’s Bill. In CNN coverage, WCWP Vice-President of Advocacy and Public Policy and former head of PETA’s laboratory investigations department Justin Goodman, claimed, “the data we’ve been able to gather from agencies shows that some agencies that use thousands of animals each year, none of them are making it out alive.”

The other mandatory adoption bill is a re-introduction of Rep. Kathleen Rice’s (D-NY) Humane Retirement Act, H.R. 2850. Rep. Rice introduced the bill in December 2018, shortly before the session closed. She has now re-introduced an identical bill that would “amend the Public Health Service Act to ensure that healthy research dogs and cats are adopted to suitable homes.” If the bill remains as written in 2018, the legislation would apply to all institutions receiving Public Health Service funding.


USDA Proposed Rulemaking on Licenses and Canines: NABR Draft Comments; Deadline June 5

As NABR previously reported, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed rulemaking regarding licensing renewals and certain canine regulations. NABR has received confirmation that the commenting period has been extended to June 5th.

NABR’s comments can be found here. Please feel free to use them to guide your own comments.

Members of the public may also submit comments at!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2017-0062 or in writing to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0062, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

House Appropriations Language to Cut Off VA Canine Research

The House Appropriations Committee has approved an FY2020 VA funding billthat would eliminate funding for all Category D and E Veterans Administration (VA) canine research. The language reads as follows:

Sec. 247. (a) Except as provided by subsection (b), none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to purchase, breed, transport, house, feed, maintain, dispose of, or experiment on, dogs as part of the conduct of any study including an assignment of pain category D or E, as defined by the Pain and Distress Categories of the Department of Agriculture (or such successor categories developed pursuant to section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2143)).

The American Physiological Association has submitted a letter to leaders at the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging them to not include this language in the Senate version of the bill.

AAMC and NABR have organized a community sign-on letter echoing these sentiments. If your institution would like to sign onto this letter, please email NABR’s Government Affairs Director, Rocco Praglowski

House Appropriators Target NIH Primate Research: Contact Congress Today!

On Tuesday, May 7, NABR sent a Special Alert regarding the House Appropriations Committee Labor-HHS funding bill for FY 2020. The full House Appropriations Committee approved this bill in a vote May 8. As part of the bill, there is concerning report language pushed by the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).

The report language reads as follows:

“Intramural Non-Human Primate Research.—The Committee has expressed concern since 2015 about the NIH’s intramural use of nonhuman primates in biomedical research. The Committee is especially concerned by a nearly 50 percent increase in NIH’s use of nonhuman primates in research involving pain and distress since fiscal year 2014. The Committee is encouraged, however, by the NIH’s January 2019 to Congress expressing support for the retirement of primates no longer needed for research. The Committee urges the NIH to accelerate efforts to reduce and replace the use of nonhuman primates with alternative research models and directs the NIH to provide a report to the Committee no later than 180 days after enactment that includes: (1) an overview of current NIH nonhuman primate use, including a table with summaries of all active projects, USDA pain categories, and their cost; (2) a detailed explanation of current NIH efforts to reduce and replace the use of primates in research with alternative methods; (3) an assessment of existing research technology not already in use by NIH to reduce and replace primate research and the feasibility of employing it to meet current and future research needs; (4) an assessment of areas where alternatives to primate research may not yet be available; (5) a detailed strategy and timeline for the reduction and replacement of NIH primate research with alternative research methods; and (6) standard operating procedures for the retirement of nonhuman primates no longer needed in research to suitable sanctuaries.”

In an interview with IJR, Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) was direct in her quote saying this report language is just a start, and that her intent is to end all nonhuman primate (NHP) research. “Our fight has helped to stop the NIH’s invasive chimpanzee research and end harsh psychological experiments on baby monkeys. Now, I want NIH to put a plan in place that responsibly phases out the expensive, inefficient and inhumane practice of primate testing, in favor of modern research alternatives,” she explained.

Justin Goodman, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy for WCWP, expanded on WCWP’s view of NHP research by stating, “Congress is finally demanding historic, concrete action from NIH to curb the growing problem of wasteful taxpayer-funded primate abuse.”

IJR ends their article with an attack on research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These attacks are not isolated, rather they are part of a concerted effort by groups like WCWP to end animal research in incremental steps. Although this report language is directed at NIH intramural research, legislators MUST hear from their constituents in the research community to explain the critical role of nonhuman primate research.
In recent coverage of the report language in the Washington Examiner(subscription only), Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA), who authored the language, was quoted again, saying that primate research is “expensive, inefficient, and inhumane.”
The Washington Examiner article goes one step further, to highlight other animal rights legislation. These include references to the Booker Bill, as well as the federal mandatory adoption bills.

You can contact Congress here:

Drs. Nancy and Jerry Jaxx Interviewed after Nat Geo Debuts “The Hot Zone”

National Geographic has aired a riveting three-episode mini-series based on the book “The Hot Zone”. The story features Dr. Nancy Jaxx and former NABR board member Dr. Jerry Jaxx, both veterinary pathologists, and their role in the 1989 outbreak of Ebola-Reston. Nancy is played by Emmy winner Julianna Margulies and Jerry is played by Noah Emmerich who is best known for his role as FBI Agent Stan Beeman on the FX series The Americans. You can catch the full mini-series online here. The couple was also interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America, which can be viewed here. This is an especially timely story considering the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Congo where roughly 1,287 people have died from the disease since August of last year.

Non-human primates play a crucial role in biomedical research, including Ebola research. They are essential to broad fields of study such as infectious disease, neuroscience, and more. To learn more, please read the Foundation for Biomedical Research’s White Paper, produced in partnership with 8 premier scientific organizations, titled “The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research.” For a condensed, public-friendly brochure titled Lifesaving Benefits of Primate Research visit:

Research Animals Caught in Administration’s China Tariffs

President Trump’s administration is considering tariffs on $300 billion in trade goods from China, including non-human primates (NHP). The currently proposed tariff of 25% would be applied to the following species: “horses, mules, cows, buffalo, swine, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, primates, whales, dolphins, porpoises, manatees, dugongs, seals, sea lions, walruses, camels, rabbits, hares, foxes, mammals, reptiles, birds of prey, bees, live insects other than bees.” These tariffs are expected to be implemented sometime in June.

NABR is in the process of submitting a letter to request primates, and other research animals, be exempt from the proposed tariffs.

Letter from Congress Targets FDA Drug Development Rules

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), a supporter of many White Coat Waste Project initiatives, is circulating a Dear Colleague letter seeking follow Congressional signatures. In the letter, Rep. Boyle appears try to pressure Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Sharpless to “modernize” the regulatory pathway for drug development by “replacing mandates for animal data with nonclinical data.”

Will USDA Inspectors be Wearing New Uniforms?

Beginning on June 1, all US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Care staff who interact with the public, including those performing inspections, will be required to wear a uniform as seen in the video at the link:

ILAR VA Dog Study: Second Webinar Recap

The second webinar of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research’s (ILAR) Veterans Administration (VA) dog study was held on Tuesday, May 28. The recording should be posted next week on the study site.  After the workshopheld on March 27-28, it the consensus of the majority of the speakers was that canines are the preferred animal model for specific cardiac electrophysiology work being performed at the VA. As such, the Committee opted to bring in speakers who, while experts on cardiac electrophysiology, only focused on alternatives to animal models. Dr. Elisa Passini presented “Development of Human-Based Computer Model of the Heart to Predict Drug Safety and Efficacy.” Meanwhile, the VA is not conducting any drug safety and efficacy tests, calling into question the value of this presentation. Dr. Zachary Laksman presented “Modeling Atrial Fibrillation using Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Atrial Tissue.” The VA is currently conducting canine studies involving atrial fibrillation and Dr. Laksman acknowledged that for the specific scientific questions being addressed by the VA, an animal model would be more appropriate than in vivo methods.

For interested parties, all of the information that the VA has provided to the committee to date can be found here.
After the concerns raised in the last NABR Update regarding the removal of the public comments feature, the ability to comment has returned to the study site. NABR encourages those of you with comments and concerns to utilize this feature, considering that groups opposed to canine research have activated their networks.

Comment here:

Webinar: Q&A With the USDA – The Seventh Edition – Submit Your Questions!

NABR is pleased to announce the return of one of its most requested webinars, the Seventh Edition of “Q&A with the USDA.” In addition, due to an unexpected conflict in scheduling for Deputy Administrator Bernadette Juarez, we are pleased to welcome back Dr. Betty Goldentyer, a veteran of our Q & A webinars. This much-requested webinar will take place on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2019, at 12:30 PM EDT.

Join USDA-APHIS’ Associate Deputy Administrator for Animal Care Dr. Betty Goldentyer and Dr. Cody Yager, Supervisory Animal Care Specialist, for “Q&A with the USDA: The Seventh Edition” on Wednesday, July 10th. 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 and should not be missed.

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 to NABR members to get your questions concerning compliance with the Animal Welfare Regulations answered.

Questions should be submitted in advance to

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.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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