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Bill to Help Retired Government Laboratory Animals Find Loving Homes Introduced by Bipartisan Group of Senators

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Gary Peters (D-MI), Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation and Research (AFTER) Act.  The bipartisan bill would direct all federal agencies to develop and maintain a policy allowing for the adoption or retirement of dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other regulated animals no longer needed for research in federal labs. 


“There is no reason animals that are suitable for adoption or retirement should be killed by our federal agencies,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan legislation continues to build on the successful policies at DOD, VA, and NIH while directing other federal agencies to facilitate and encourage the retirement of animals to help ensure they are placed in loving homes or sanctuaries whenever possible.”


“On behalf of our more than 2 million members in Maine and beyond, we applaud Senator Collins for introducing the AFTER Act to ensure dogs, cats, primates and other animals get a second chance at life outside of a lab when government experiments end,” said Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.


The directors of the Maine Federation of Humane Societies, a collaboration of Maine animal welfare organizations promoting the adoption of homeless animals and responsible pet ownership, said, “Our goal is to end pet overpopulation and animal cruelty through education, outreach, and advocacy. As animal welfare leaders across the state of Maine, we share Senator Collins’ concerns about what happens to animals both during and after testing. The Federation would like to thank Senator Collins for introducing this important bill, and for her longstanding support of animal welfare in Maine and across the nation.” 


More than 50,000 Animal Welfare Act regulated animals (mainly dogs, cats, monkeys, and rabbits) were used in federal labs in fiscal year 2018.  Currently, since federal agencies do not have policies on adopting or retiring animals that are no longer needed in research, many animals are killed.  The AFTER Act will ensure that every federal agency that uses animals for research has policies in place to facilitate the relocation of retired, healthy lab animals to private homes, animal rescues, or reputable sanctuaries.


Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Brendan Boyle and Jackie Walorski.


Click HERE for the text of the AFTER Act.