Here’s how we break the puppies out of government labs

Lab animals are typically killed once their testing is over. A new federal law intends to fix that problem.

There’s one thing I think most people can agree on: The government should not be using our tax dollars to carry out torturous experiments on animals, especially puppies.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, over 50,000 dogs, cats, primates, rabbits and other regulated animals experience such experiments in federal labs each year. (For the record, this number excludes the mice and rats that are also being tested on.) And, of the ten federal agencies that are carrying out these operations, only one has a policy promoting lab animal retirement, the Department of Veteran Affairs.

That particular policy only came into play last year following advocacy by the free market animal welfare organization, The White Coat Waste Project (where I am a fellow).

Why is this especially heinous? Because the federal government typically kills off these animals once it is done torturing them. Yes, really.

The USDA killed over 3,000 adoptable kittens for one example. Fortunately, their kitten slaughterhouse was shut down following another campaign by White Coat Waste (WCW) and pressure from Congress, leading to the remaining cats being adopted out for the first time in the agency’s history. But it shouldn’t be that hard to get these agencies to simply offer animals up for adoption instead of killing them.

A new federal law intends to fix that problem. Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) have introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation and Research (AFTER) Act (HR 2897) which would require all federal agencies to have policies that allow for the retirement and adoption of animals after the government is done testing on them in their labs. For short, WCW is calling this Violet’s Law in honor of the rescued ex-lab dog who inspired the #givethemback campaign behind the bill.

Thirteen other lawmakers have co-sponsored the bills across bipartisan lines, which is encouraging. But we need more to join this cause if we want to see real change.

Hannah Cox is a fellow at White Coat Waste Project.

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Hannah Cox
Hannah Cox
Hannah Cox is a libertarian-conservative writer and co-founder of BASEDPolitics. She's also the host of the BASEDPolitics podcast and an experienced political activist.