Hastings and Buchanan Reintroduce Legislation to Reduce Animal Testing

(Washington, D.C.) – Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) reintroduced the bipartisan Humane Research and Testing Act, which establishes the National Center for Alternatives to Animals in Research and Testing (National Center) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The National Center will be dedicated to decreasing the use of animals in medical research and testing by encouraging the proliferation of alternative, human-relevant research methods. The National Center will also be tasked with counting the number of animals used in federally funded research and monitoring progress toward reducing the quantity of animals utilized in research nationwide. Joining Hastings and Buchanan as original cosponsors include: Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Julia Brownley (D-CA), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). (Please find a copy of the legislation attached):

“Two-thirds of Americans are concerned about the treatment of animals used in medical research according to Gallup polling. Sadly, we don’t know exactly how many animals are used in federally funded research and testing each year. However, several research methods have been developed that are able to reduce the demand for animal testing,” said Hastings. “I am pleased to introduce the Humane Research and Testing Act of 2021, alongside my good friend Congressman Vern Buchanan, which will promote the use of these human-relevant alternative testing methods, minimize the needless suffering of animals, and require a full accounting of the number of animals used in federally funded research.

“I’m excited to work with my Florida delegation co-chair Rep. Alcee Hastings to introduce this important legislation,” said Buchanan. “We need to create better, quicker and less expensive treatments for people that don’t rely on inhumane testing procedures. Establishing a National Center for Alternatives to Animals in Research and Testing will help advance these goals while also avoiding subjecting animals to cruel and unnecessary experiments.

“While minimizing the use of animals in research is a fundamental part of NIH policy, we continue to see enormous numbers of animals used. The U.S. is one of the largest users of animals in laboratories worldwide,” said Barbara Stagno, President and Executive Director, CAARE. “The Humane Research and Testing Act will provide the means and support to help NIH fulfill its obligation to replace animals with innovative technology and reduce numbers used, as mandated by the NIH Revitalization Act.”

“In addition to supporting research to innovate new preclinical models that more effectively emulate human physiology and disease states, a National Center for Alternatives to Animal Research and Testing would help to educate the scientific community about in vitro alternatives, and thus reduce often unnecessary demands for additional animal testing by reviewers of manuscripts and grants” said Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, Chaired Professor at Harvard’s Medical and Engineering Schools and Founding Director of its Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

On Wednesday March 10th, Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE) hosted a virtual panel discussion, titled “21st Century Innovations in Alternatives to Animals in Biomedical Research,” recognizing the importance of the Humane Research and Testing Act. Scientists discussed the moral imperative to mitigate the use of animals in medical research and recent scientific advancements that reduce the need for animal testing. Presenters included: Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messenger of Peace; Paul Locke, JD, DrPH, Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and affiliate of the Center for Alternatives to Animals; Don Ingber MD, PhD, Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University; Azra Raza, MD, Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of the MDS Center at Columbia University; and Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Alternatives to Animals.

Bill Summary

The Humane Research and Testing Act establishes the National Center for Alternatives to Animals in Research and Testing (National Center) within the National Institutes for Health (NIH). First, the National Center will provide assistance, funding, and training to educate scientists in alternatives to the use of animals in research. The National Center will also facilitate collaborations that provide scientists lacking resources with access to human-relevant methods. Second, the National Center will be tasked with tallying the number of animals used in federally funded research. Scientists receiving federal funding and government agencies that use animals in research will be required to submit regular reports to the National Center that state the number of animals used in their research projects, disaggregated by species, and they will also be required to outline a plan for reducing the number of animals they use.

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Dean and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.


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