The federal government conducts and funds scientific experiments on tens of thousands of animals every year. Under the status quo, many of the animals involved in these experiments are euthanized at the research’s conclusion, even if they are healthy enough to be adopted or have treatable medical issues.
Bipartisan legislation seeks to end this cruel practice. A coalition of Republican lawmakers, including Congresswoman Nancy Mace and Senator Susan Collins, just re-introduced legislation known as “Violet’s Law,” named after a dog who was rescued after enduring government research and later placed in a loving home. This bill would “require all federal labs to enact policies allowing animals to be retired and adopted out when testing ends,” according to the White Coat Waste Project, a group that advocates against taxpayer-funded animal testing.
“It’s cruel and unnecessary to euthanize dogs, cats, and other animals in federal research labs which are healthy enough to be adopted out and live happy lives,” Mace said. “We are leading this commonsense, bipartisan effort to ensure that federal agencies can retire and re-home animals no longer needed in taxpayer-funded research whenever possible.”
— White Coat Waste Project 🥼🗑️ (@WhiteCoatWaste) March 13, 2023
“There is no reason regulated lab animals that are suitable for adoption or retirement should be killed by federal agencies,” Collins similarly stated. “Our bipartisan legislation would continue to build on the successful policies at DOD, VA, FDA, and NIH while directing all other federal agencies to facilitate and encourage the retirement of animals to help ensure they are placed in loving homes or sanctuaries.”
Some Democrats, like Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, are also supporting the legislation. This really should be something that policymakers across the political spectrum can get behind.
There’s a complex debate to be had over the scientific and medical ethics involving animal testing and the extent to which taxpayers should fund it. But the notion that animals subjected to these experiments ought not to be euthanized by default when other options exist shouldn’t be controversial at all.
Many of these animals, like Violet, could end up placed in a loving home or a sanctuary that’s willing to care for them and even pay for their medical bills. Why on earth wouldn’t we at least pursue that as an option before turning to euthanasia?
Here’s hoping Nancy Mace and her allies can get this common-sense legislation over the line.