Op-ed: Pass Violet’s Law to Cut Government Waste and Animal Cruelty

Posted by Justin Goodman
10 April 2024 | #GiveThemBack, Blog

Pass Violet’s Law to Cut Government Waste and Animal Cruelty
Published by The Hill | Written by Justin Goodman and Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)

At over $20 billion a year, the U.S. government is the country’s single largest funder of wasteful and cruel animal testing.

The good news is that we’re making progress to cut taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs, cats and other animals at home and abroad. In recent years, Congress and the White Coat Waste Project worked together to uncover and stop Dr. Anthony Fauci’s plan for completely unnecessary $1.8 million drug tests on puppies, and to cut off taxpayer funding to the notorious Wuhan animal lab and a Kremlin-tied Russian cat experimentation lab.

Pass Violet's Law Farm Bill

The bad news: Uncle Sam is still killing perfectly healthy animals when they’re no longer needed in experiments, because there isn’t a federal lab animal retirement law.

The solution is Violet’s Law. We are working together to enact this cost-saving and life-saving legislation and have it included in the must-pass Farm Bill being crafted in Congress.

Taxpayers are forced to foot the multi-billion-dollar bill for federal labs to purchase and conduct outdated, inhumane experiments on tens of thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits, primates, and other animals every year. Some of these animals can cost thousands of tax dollars each.

While many of us would like to see animal testing end completely, in recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and the Food and Drug Administration have at least enacted lab animal adoption policies. As a result, healthy dogs, cats, primates, and other animals no longer needed for research have been successfully retired and re-homed instead of needlessly and wastefully killed.

Pass Violet's Law Farm Bill

Research shows that animals can lead happy and healthy lives as pets or in sanctuaries after being released from laboratories.

Yet federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have resisted requests for reform, still killing healthy, taxpayer-purchased animals when they no longer serve their intended use. We also recently discovered that the Environmental Protection Agency has been killing rabbits it was supposed to be retiring to loving homes.

The commonsense Violet’s Law — named for a hound rescued from a government lab — directs all 20 federal agencies that conduct taxpayer-funded animal experiments to establish guidelines allowing the retirement and adoption of healthy dogs, cats, rabbits, and other regulated animals no longer being used for research.

Pass Violet's Law Farm Bill

Violet’s Law would ensure that lab animal retirement is implemented across all federal research facilities and gives each agency the authority to create its own policy. Notably, this carefully crafted and widely supported bill applies only to the federal government’s in-house labs and does not place any burdens on private companies or colleges and universities.

Violet’s Law has more than 90 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 20 in the Senate. It is backed by a diverse coalition of organizations, including the White Coat Waste Project, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Free The People and Advancing Law for Animals.

Lab animal retirement is also embraced by the biomedical research community. Additionally, 16 states, including New York, have passed laws encouraging or requiring the adoption of animals no longer needed for research.

The puppies, kittens, bunnies, and other animals in question were purchased at great expense to taxpayers. There’s no reason not to let the public adopt these healthy animals from federal labs and give them loving homes.

Pass Violet's Law Farm Bill

While we continue the fight to end cruel animal testing altogether, it’s time to pass Violet’s Law to make lab animal adoption the standard across the federal government.

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) represents New York’s 11th Congressional District and serves as co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. Justin Goodman is the senior vice president at the White Coat Waste Project.

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