FDA joined the NIH and the Department of Veteran Affairs in the enactment of a policy for lab animal adoption.
The FDA will now put the healthy research animals up for adoption when their time in the lab is done.
This new rule will include dogs, rabbits, cats, some farm animals, and guinea pigs.
Animal testing is practiced by the FDA to have a better understanding of medical products such as vaccines, medical drugs, and devices prior to the research moving to clinical trials with humans.
They consider animal research necessary for the understanding of how quickly a medication is absorbed by the body and how much time the effects last.
Animal testing also helps learn about toxic by-products after the drugs’ breakdown and how long they stay in the body.
Animals in Animal Research Were Euthanized in the Past
In the past, the lab animals were mostly euthanized at the end of the research, no matter their health.
However, in November 2019, the FDA made changes to their policies and encouraged lab animal retirement or the adoption of these animals into homes.
But, the change hasn’t be publically announced by the FDA until now.
This new policy comes after the NIH enacted a similar one in August 2019 and the Department of Veteran Affairs policy that encourages the adoption of research dogs as of 2018.
Several states also encourage research labs to find possible adopters for domestic animals; however, there’s no nationwide requirement.
Scrutiny against Certain Research Programs
Last year, an animal advocacy group, the White Coat Waste Project, scrutinized a USDA research program which was studying toxoplasmosis.
The eggs are spread through the feces of cat and thus the researchers feed the cats with tainted cat and dog meat to infect them with this parasite that relies on cats as part of its life cycle.
But, between the period of 2013 and 2018, 239 cats were killed in the study and after the report of the WCW; the USDA closed down the cat experiments and ensured the adoption of 14 healthy cats.
The US Senator Susan Collins of Maine in 2019 introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments, and Research Act that would set a national policy in the placement of these animals in forever homes.
Collins stated that she sees no reason why research animals adequate for adoption or retirement should be euthanized and she’s pleased of the FDA’s join to the NIH and VA in the lab animal retirement policy.
Justin Goodman, VP of the White Coat Waste Project said that FDA’s move should be a role model for other agencies experimenting on animals.