Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation, and Research (AFTER) Act. The bipartisan legislation, which was co-sponsored by Senator Angus King (I-ME), would 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.
“There is no reason regulated lab animals that are suitable for adoption or retirement should be killed by federal agencies,” said Senator Collins. “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.”
“Retiring lab animals used for federal research deserve the chance to live the rest of their lives in loving homes,” said Senator Peters. “This bill would encourage federal agencies to collaborate with shelters, rescue organizations and sanctuaries to help provide these animals with safe and caring environments.”
“Animals that survive abuse in taxpayer-funded government labs deserve the chance to be adopted into loving homes or retired to sanctuaries. On behalf of our more than 3 million members in Maine and beyond, we applaud Senators Collins and Peters for reintroducing 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. Taxpayers bought these animals, and we want government agencies to give them back,” said Desiree Bender, Campaign Manager of Taxpayer Watchdog Group White Coat Waste Project.
The AFTER Act directs all federal agencies to promote regulations that would facilitate the retirement of lab animals. DOD, VA, FDA, and NIH already have these rules in place.
The bill provides flexibility for each agency to devise its own policy, with the goal of ensuring that such animals, whenever possible, are retired and not killed. The legislation also requires that animals be evaluated by a licensed veterinarian and pronounced both mentally and physically healthy before leaving an agency, helping to ensure a smooth transition to a new environment. Finally, the bill encourages federal agencies to work with non-profit organizations to help place retired animals in sanctuaries and shelters across the country, not just those closest to the research facility.
The legislation is supported by White Coat Waste.
In addition to Senators Collins, Peters, and King, the legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.