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Bipartisan Group Wants Labs to Disclose Where Research Animals End Up

Federal agencies asked for info on adoptions and retirements for dogs, cats and primates that survive experiments

 Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to federal agencies about testing on dogs, cats and primates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
 Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to federal agencies about testing on dogs, cats and primates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 10:12 a.m. | A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged federal agencies and research labs to release information on what it does with cats, dogs and primates that survive experiments.

The letter first obtained by Roll Call was sent to the Department of Interior, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.

“We are writing today to obtain information about your agency’s policies for the adoption and retirement of dogs, cats and primates no longer needed in research,” the letter reads.

The letter cited an audit by the Government Accountability Office and other agencies that “shows your agency used dogs, cats and primates for biomedical research.”

The letter noted that the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare said it supports the concept of animal adoption and that it encourages institutions to work with shelters to help with adoption.

“Despite this guidance from NIH and independent experts, we were concerned to discover  through our offices’ research a lack of formalized policies and procedures addressing this subject across federal agencies,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers said they wanted information on agencies’ policies and procedures about dogs and cats’ adoption and retirement for primates.

In particular, the lawmakers said they wanted to know if during the fiscal years of 2016 and 2017 whether the agencies used dogs, cats or primates for research, and if so, how many of each species were used.

Members of Congress also wanted to know if the agencies adopted out “or otherwise retire” dogs, cats or primates in the same fiscal years, how many and where they were placed.

“We agree that cats, dogs and primates that survive taxpayer-funded government research should be provided with an opportunity to find suitable non-laboratory homes at the completion of studies,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers who signed the letter are below, according to the White Coat Waste Project, a conservative animal rights group.

  1. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn. 
  2. Brendan Boyle, D-Penn.
  3. Mike Bishop, R-Mich.
  4. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
  5. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.
  6. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.
  7. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.
  8. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.
  9. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.
  10. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y.
  11. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
  12. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.
  13. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohi
  14.  Dave Trott, R-Mich.
  15. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.
  16. Alex X. Mooney, R-W.Va.
  17. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif.
  18. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif.
  19. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.
  20. Dina Titus, D-Nev.
  21. Fred Upton, R-Mich.
  22. Donald Norcross, D-N.J.
  23. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del.
  24. Gene Green, D-Texas
  25. John Lewis, D-Ga.
  26. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.
  27. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

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Correction July 30, 2018 12:09 p.m,: the story did include all of the names of the signers.

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