No matter where you live in the US, there is a high likelihood that your state government is funding animal torture in scientific experiments. But notably, some lawmakers are trying to put a stop to this.
Recently in Pennsylvania, Senator Doug Mastriano introduced legislation to defund animal cruelty in the state. He teamed up with the White Coat Waste Project, a free-market animal welfare group that acts as a taxpayer watchdog (and where I am a fellow) to write an op-ed discussing his concerns.
“Tens of thousands of dogs and cats are still suffering in labs across the country, including here in the Keystone state,” he noted.
He went on to state, “Federal reports we’ve analyzed show that in 2021, over 4,000 dogs and cats were imprisoned in over a dozen Commonwealth labs including at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University. There is even a Lancaster location of the disgraced industrial puppy breeder Envigo that abused and neglected dogs it sold to Temple and other labs for taxpayer-funded experiments.”
“Records illustrate that over 1,100 of these dogs and cats were subjected to significant pain and distress. In some cases, pain relief was withheld from animals intentionally,” the piece continued.
As Mastriano notes about his legislation, the bill “would ensure taxpayers aren’t forced to bankroll egregious and wasteful animal cruelty. We’re aiming to defund painful experiments on dogs and cats (which Virginia did a few years ago and federal lawmakers are working on now), prohibit the cruel practice of de-barking dogs so they can’t cry out in the lab, and cut off state funds for dog and cat labs that violate the law. We also want PA to join 15 other states (and numerous federal agencies) with policies on the books allowing dogs and cats in labs to be retired and adopted out to taxpayers when testing ends.”
If you’re asking yourself why such bills aren’t being introduced in literally every other state, me too. This should be the most common sense, bipartisan initiative imaginable.
Mastriano went on to say, “In addition to these animal protection measures, we want to boost transparency about government spending on this waste and abuse. The new legislation directs labs experimenting on dogs and cats to publicly disclose if they were taxpayer-funded and how much public money they spent (which is required for animal labs by some federal agencies already), and requires the PA Treasury to issue an annual report on taxpayer funding for dog and cat experiments.”
The model is there. Now, let’s hope others follow Mastriano’s leadership on this issue.
Hannah is a Fellow for the White Coat Waste Project.