Some lab animals used for animal testing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now be sent to shelters and sanctuaries for adoption.
The FDA policy took effect Nov. 18, 2019 but was not made public. The policy states, “There are occasions in which healthy live animals are available following their intended use in regulatory investigations. FDA fully supports the transfer of such study animals to… long-term private homes or farms for adoption as pets; to AWC [Animal Welfare Council] approved organizations preparing animals for adoption as pets; or to AWC approved retirement sanctuaries that can provide suitable and humane living conditions for these animals.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) adopted a similar policy in Aug. 2019 and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) did so in 2018.
Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and some farm animals are among the animals that will be made available for adoption after lab tests are completed on the animals. These animals were previously euthanized even if they were healthy.
1,929 animals were used or bred for FDA experimentation in fiscal year 2018.
Representative Brendan Boyle (D-PA) stated, “For years, I’ve worked to end outdated government animal testing opposed by most Americans, and have been disturbed at how many animals are killed at the end of research even though there are individuals, rescues, and sanctuaries ready to take them in. Having introduced the AFTER Act [Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments and Research] to require federal agencies to allow lab animal adoption, I am very happy with the FDA’s new policy allowing healthy dogs, primates, rabbits and other animals to be retired after research.”
In Sep. 2019, Tara Rabin, Public Affairs Specialist at the Food and Drug Administration, stated, “While the F.D.A. is committed to doing all that it can to reduce the reliance on animal-based studies, there are still many areas where animal research is necessary. Without the use of animals, it would be impossible to gain some of the important knowledge needed to prevent human and animal suffering for many life-threatening diseases.”