Bipartisan Bill Would End NIH Pain Tests on Cats and Dogs

There are reportedly around 48,000 dogs and 14,000 cats currently imprisoned in labs across the United States.

A new bipartisan bill aims to prohibit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from subjecting certain animals to cruel experiments like mutilations and injections with infectious viruses.

On Thursday, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) introduced HR 7958, Preventing Animal Abuse and Waste Act (PAAW Act), which seeks to amend the Public Health Service Act to ban the NIH from “conducting or funding research that causes significant pain or distress to dogs or cats,” said an April 11 press release from the lawmaker. The bill, co-led by Rep. Jared Moscowitz (D-Fla.), is backed by nonprofit watchdog White Coat Waste Project, which investigated NIH’s testing of dogs and cats.
Some of the incidents uncovered by the investigation are given below:

  • Beagle puppies were subjected to septic shock experiments that forced pneumonia bacteria into their lungs and bled them out.
  • Kittens and puppies were bred specifically to undergo deadly experiments or suffer from debilitating genetic disorders.
  • Abandoned pet hounds were rounded up and researchers strapped capsules filled with hungry sand flies on them with the insects feeding on the animals.
  • Beagle puppies were injected with fentanyl and cocaine.
  • In one experiment, kittens were crippled and forced to swallow balloons.
  • Research was also conducted in foreign labs. For instance, in Russia, cats were crippled and forced to walk on treadmills.

The PAAW Act mandates that the Director of NIH “may not support any research falling under pain category D or E as classified by the Department of Agriculture, ensuring a higher standard of animal welfare in biomedical research,” according to the release.

“To ensure accountability and oversight, the bill includes provisions for regular reporting on the use of dogs and cats in NIH-conducted and funded research. This includes detailed information on ongoing and prospective research projects, their associated costs, efforts to phase out the use of animals, and the number of animals retired and adopted from research programs.”

In addition, the bill calls on the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a comprehensive study assessing NIH efforts to reduce and replace the use of cats and dogs for research purposes.

The bill points out multiple instances where the agency conducted research involving common pet animals even though alternative methods were available.

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“As an animal lover, I’ve been disturbed to learn the scale and scope of barbaric and unnecessary dog and cat experiments funded by the National Institutes of Health,” said Ms. Mace.

“Americans across the political spectrum have been horrified to learn their tax dollars are being used to subsidize cruelty to thousands of puppies and kittens in labs every year. The PAAW Act will ensure taxpayers’ hard-earned money is not wasted on outdated and cruel experiments on pets.”

In an April 11 blog post, White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) welcomed the PAWW Act, noting that it is the “first bill ever introduced by Congress to completely defund painful NIH testing on dogs and cats!”

“All told, 48,000 dogs and over 14,000 cats were imprisoned in US labs, according to the most recent available federal reports,” it said. “Of those, over 13,000 dogs and 4,700 cats were subjected to painful experiments—many without any pain relief. Most of these cruel and wasteful tests are funded with our tax dollars via the NIH.”

Legal Action Against Experiments

Lawmakers have already started to take action against experimentation on cats and dogs using federal funds.

In March, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4366, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024. It features a provision in which the Veterans Department can implement a plan whereby “research conducted using canines, felines, or non-human primates” is halted completely.

According to WCWP, this was the first time in American history that Congress enacted a bill instructing an agency to cease all activities involving experimentation on specific animals. Back in 2018, Congress restricted such activities but shied away from banning them outright.

In January, Reps. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) sent a bipartisan letter to NIH Director Monica Bertagnolli, seeking information on agency efforts to curb experimentation on dogs and cats while urging the department to back alternatives to such harmful testing practices.

The letter asked the agency to provide more information about NIH spending on experiments conducted on cats and dogs in fiscal year 2023.

They also enquired about the specific efforts and initiatives taken by the NIH to reduce experimentation on these animals. “Has the NIH met with the FDA to discuss how it can avoid the use of dogs and cats in contracts for drug safety testing?”

NIH is not the only federal agency involved in cruel animal testing. In 2021, WCWP revealed that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) conducted “excruciating experiments” on rhesus monkeys.

The group obtained documents from NIAID showing that the agency spent $13.5 million on tests in which the monkeys were injected with infectious diseases like Ebola and the Lassa virus which causes organ failure, brain damage, hemorrhaging, and loss of motor control.

In many of these experiments, researchers “intentionally withhold pain relief, even though these are some of the most excruciating experiments in the federal government,” Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy for the WCWP told The Epoch Times.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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