Concerned Scientists Offer Real Solutions for Research Reform Under the Cures Act
For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2018
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – This morning, PETA scientists released a rebuttal to recommendations by a group of animal experimenters and lobbyists that include gutting the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and placing experimenters themselves in charge of oversight at laboratories. PETA’s report (available here) offers practical guidance for fulfilling the mandate of the 21st Century Cures Act, which directs federal agencies to streamline research oversight without weakening protection for the animals used.
PETA’s recommendations include shifting resources toward human-relevant, animal-free research methods, given the widespread failure of animal studies to lead to treatments for humans; conducting systematic reviews of all areas of animal use in order to identify those that have failed for decades; offering better training to university oversight committees on alternatives to animal experiments; strengthening current protections, as 95 percent of animals used in laboratories, including all mice and rats, currently have no protection under the AWA; and more.
The group’s guidance is a direct response to the Reforming Animal Research Regulations report, authored by representatives of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which has long opposed federal oversight of the use of animals in experimentation. FASEB is calling for fewer inspections of laboratories, less public transparency, the review of some experiments on animals by just one person (rather than an oversight committee), and the weakening of regulations that require experimenters to seek alternatives to the use of animals, among other changes.
Many of the authors of the FASEB report represent and are involved in animal-use oversight at institutions that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has repeatedly cited for gross abuse and outright negligence resulting directly in animal suffering. PETA’s rebuttal details these violations.
“Animals already have almost no protection in laboratories, and numerous studies show that experiments on other species aren’t leading to cures for human disease,” says PETA’s Alka Chandna, Ph.D. “Putting animal experimenters in charge of policing themselves and approving their own projects will ensure suffering and the waste of precious resources on a grand scale.”