Federal spending bill delivers historic wins against dog, cat and primate testing

Posted by Justin Goodman
17 December 2019 | Newsworthy

The final federal spending package for 2020 was just signed into law by President Trump. After more than a year of work with Congressional leaders, White Coat Waste Project and its two-million-plus supporters scored some historic, hard-won wins in the bill that will hold government accountable for wasteful animal tests, save taxpayers money and spare the lives of countless dogs, cats and primates.

National Institutes of Health: Report on efforts to reduce primate testing
The final spending bill contains a version of WCW-backed language passed by the House earlier this year directing the NIH to provide a report to Congress on efforts to reduce primate testing in the agency’s labs. The language (see page 80) was championed by Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rosa Delauro (D-CT) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who hold senior positions on the NIH’s funding committees.

Department of Veterans Affairs: Plan for phasing out dog, cat and primate testing by 2025
The VA’s spending bill renews and strengthens existing restrictions on VA dog testing won by WCW, and extends them to cat and primate experiments (see section 249 on page 665). The hard-fought legislation also contains historic language directing the VA to formulate a plan to “eliminate or reduce” dog, cat and primate testing by 2025. The measure was championed by Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Dina Titus (D-NV) and Army veteran Brian Mast (R-FL) and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Air Force veteran Martha McSally (R-AZ). Additionally, over 55 bipartisan lawmakers led by Reps. Titus and Mast requested that VA dog testing be cut in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee in March 2019.

Food and Drug Administration: Plan for phase-out of primate tests, monkey retirement
The FDA’s final spending bill includes WCW-backed report language passed by the House earlier this year directing the FDA to formalize a plan for the reduction and replacement of its primate experiments, and the primates’ retirement to sanctuaries (see page 80). The effort was led by Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

This is the first time in history that Congress has asked agencies for detailed plans and timelines for the reduction and elimination of testing on dogs, cats and primates. 

WCW is also grateful for the leadership of Appropriations Committee heads Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for getting these important bills to the president’s desk.  Of course, none of this would have been possible without countless emails, calls and social media posts from WCW’s 2-million-plus dedicated advocates urging Congress to take action.

If you haven’t yet, tell Congress to pass the AFTER Act to ensure animals are retired instead of killed when government experiments end!

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