Rep. Dina Titus to USDA: Stop Forcing Farmers to Fund Painful and Ineffective Animal Testing

For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2020

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – This morning, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) sent a letter calling on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to provide a timeline for ending the use of mandatory annual fees paid by farmers to fund cruel and inefficient animal experiments commissioned by agricultural commodity research and promotion (R&P) boards, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees. These fees—some of which pay for deadly animal tests in order to make human health marketing claims for fruits and vegetables—totaled over $885 million in 2016.

“Family farmers should not be forced to pay for barbaric research programs that inflict cruelty and pain on animals,” says Titus. “PETA has played a crucial role in elevating this issue, and I am pleased to work with this organization to strongly advocate for animal welfare.”

PETA found that between 2015 and 2019, tests published and funded by R&P boards used more than 2,600 animals, including mice, rats, and pigs. These experiments included douching, poisoning, force-feeding, starving, irradiating, bleeding, suffocating, beheading, and dissecting animals.

The drastic physiological differences between species render such tests irrelevant to humans, and since these agricultural products—including blueberries, mushrooms, and watermelons—are commonplace foods with a long history of safe human consumption, researchers could have instead pursued safe and effective human studies, which would yield human-relevant results.

“PETA applauds Representative Titus for urging the USDA to require agricultural commodity boards to stop wasting farmers’ money on misguided animal tests and instead use superior, human-relevant research methods,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala.

Titus is a congressional leader on animal issues and previously worked with PETA to crack down on the importation of dog leather. She also cosponsored the PETA-supported BEST Practices Act, which was designed to replace military trauma training drills on animals with more effective human simulation models.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind