VICTORY: NIH enacts lab animal retirement policy following WCW campaign

Posted by Justin Goodman
02 August 2019 | Blog


Animals released from taxpayer-funded labs following WCW efforts (L-R): Violet was rescued from a lab by a WCW board member. Delilah was retired by the USDA when WCW shut down its kitten slaughterhouse. And this male squirrel monkeys is one of 26 who WCW got released from the FDA’s now-defunct nicotine lab.

Over 1.2 million White Coat Waste Project taxpayer advocates told the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to #GiveThemBack, and the agency listened!

As first reported by WJLA in Washington, DC, the NIH–the nation’s single largest funder of animal testing–has enacted its first-ever policy allowing for the retirement of healthy animals after experiments end in its labs, instead of wastefully killing them. The development was revealed through a WCW Freedom of Information Act request and directly follows advocacy from WCW and its supporters and leadership from dozens of bipartisan lawmakers who began urging NIH to make the move more than a year ago.

The new NIH policy states that dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and farmed animals including pigs and sheep may be adopted out from the agency’s labs to NIH staff or transferred to fosters and rescues when experiments end. Historically, the NIH has not retired any animals from its labs other than chimpanzees, despite using over 50,000 other animals in its labs each year.


Reports of the new NIH policy comes just days after the U.S. Senate introduced Violet’s Law–aka the AFTER Act–requiring all federal agencies to maintain policies allowing for the retirement of animals after experiments end in government labs.  Unfortunately, the new NIH policy does not apply to primates–whom the NIH uses over 10,000 of annually–but Violet’s Law would fix that by requiring that the policy cover all federally-regulated species.

Taxpayers bought the animals locked in government labs, and we want Uncle Sam to #GiveThemBack! Urge your Congress members to cosponsor the AFTER Act to ensure all federal agencies provide a second chance to animals abused in wasteful government experiments!

Blog Comments

The very least you can do is to adopt these animals into loving homes. The very most you can do is to stop using innocent animals in your experimental

I respect Animals we are the people messing up not them.

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