Mace proposes bipartisan bill to allow research animals to be adopted, rehomed

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) on March 8 led a bipartisan contingent of 37 lawmakers in introducing a bill that would amend the Animal Welfare Act to allow animals used in federal research to be adopted or rehomed after being retired from research.

“It’s cruel and unnecessary to euthanize dogs, cats, and other animals in federal research labs which are healthy enough to be adopted out and live happy lives,” Rep. Mace said. “We are leading this common-sense, bipartisan effort to ensure that federal agencies can retire and rehome animals no longer needed in taxpayer-funded research whenever possible.”

Rep. Mace sponsored Violet’s Law, H.R. 1465, which is named after a hound adopted from a taxpayer-funded laboratory, with original cosponsors including U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Young Kim (R-CA), Brian Mast (R-FL), and Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA).

Currently, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Defense have enacted lab animal retirement policies that allow dogs, cats, and other animals to be adopted and permit primates to be relocated to sanctuaries, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Mace’s office.

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies that conduct animal experiments do not have such policies, the summary says, noting that the proposed bill would expand the practice to all related federal agencies.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on March 8 sponsored the same-named S. 707 in the Senate alongside 16 Democratic original cosponsors plus U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME). The bill has garnered support from the White Coat Waste Project.