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Dog-Friendly Event Calls Attention to Lab Animal Retirement Legislation

December 6, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON -Earlier this week members of Congress sought to draw attention to a bill that would allow for the retirement of dogs, cats and other animals used in federal lab experiments.

The bill, called the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation and Research (AFTER) Act, is sponsored in the House by Reps. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa.

A companion bill is being sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

On Wednesday evening, all of the sponsors served as co-hosts of the “Hounds on the Hill” event hosted by the White Coat Waste Project at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Dozens of staffers from Republican and Democratic offices also attended the dog-friendly event.

Rep. Walorski – whose congressional district is home to the Peaceable Primate Sanctuary, a non-profit refuge for more than 30 baboons and other primates retired from biomedical research, – delivered opening remarks in which she called the legislation, a “Hoosier common sense bill.”

The bill would direct all federal agencies to develop and maintain a policy allowing for the adoption or other non-laboratory placement of dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other regulated animals no longer needed for research in federal labs.

“Animals should always be treated humanely, including when they are used in taxpayer-funded laboratory research,”  Walorski said. “When these animals are no longer needed for testing, federal agencies should have a plan in place to safely and humanely relocate them.

“The bipartisan AFTER Act will ensure agencies make good faith efforts to relocate animals to loving homes, rescues, or reputable sanctuaries, such as the primate sanctuary located in Indiana’s 2nd District,” she said.

Rep. Boyle said his sponsorship of the bill is just latest in a long line of efforts he’s been involved in to reduce outdated government animal testing.

Noting polls show most Americans are opposed to such testing, Boyle said,  “These animals deserve a second chance and the AFTER Act will ensure that federal agencies have plans in place to identify suitable homes for dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals that survive government experiments.”

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