WASHINGTON — Now-famous beagles rescued from a breeding and research facility in Virginia were on Capitol Hill on Thursday as an animal welfare group and a California congressman pushed for laws that will promote adoption of research animals.
“It’s unlucky that animals are still allowed to be utilized in testing. That hopefully goes to go away very, very soon. But while it’s happening, we will do higher,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-California.
The beagles got here from a controversial Envigo medical dog-breeding facility in Cumberland County that shut down under pressure from federal regulators due to a string of animal welfare violations, the Virginia Mercury has reported. Federal agents in May seized a whole bunch of dogs and puppies found to be “in acute distress.”
A judge in July approved a plan to maneuver 4,000 beagles from the power to shelters for adoption, making national headlines. One adopter turned out to be Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and her husband, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, who are actually living in California.
Virginia lawmakers pass recent regulations for controversial beagle breeding facility
On Thursday, several of the beagles were on the Capitol to get petted and shown off at a “meet and greet” and to assist make some extent about animal research.
Cárdenas, a California Democrat, introduced a bill last October that will require any facility receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health to make “reasonable efforts” to adopt any dog, cat or rabbit deemed suitable for adoption once that animal isn’t any longer needed for biomedical and behavioral research.
The laws has just 4 other co-sponsors: Joe Neguse of Colorado, Jimmy Panetta of California, Donald Payne Jr. of Recent Jersey and Dina Titus of Nevada.
When asked concerning the strategy for reaching the extent of support the bill would wish to clear the House and the Senate, Cárdenas told States Newsroom that he plans to beat back on criticism from the medical research industry that the measure is “too onerous.”
“I don’t buy that,” he said.
Monica Engebretson, North America campaign manager for Cruelty Free International, said 15 states require animal research facilities to supply dogs and cats they now not want for adoption. But she believes a nationwide law is required.
Engebretson said the group has had some success prior to now getting policy changes enacted through the annual laws that funds the NIH, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and hopes to achieve this again with this current policy proposal.
The NIH’s website says that it’s “committed to continuing to develop non-animal model alternative methods,” though it notes “we should not at some extent where alternative approaches can completely replace the usage of animals at the moment.”
“The alternatives simply cannot accurately replicate or model all of the biologic and behavioral points of human disease,” NIH writes. “Until that point, animal models will remain integral for NIH-supported research.”
The NIH also has an Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. But neither its Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals or its Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals include any proposals or suggestions for whether cats, dogs and bunnies must be available for adoption after they aren’t any longer needed.
The office notes on its website that it “supports the protection and protection of animals and reminds institutions that their policies must make clear the disposition of animals acquired for research once the research has ended, which can include adoption.” It also says it “is not going to assume legal or financial responsibility for any adoption program” of research animals.
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