As more lawmakers step up to the plate to put an end to the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on inhumane animal tests, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just indicated its commitment to eliminating certain dog experiments and opened the door for adopting out those used in more humane tests.
On Friday, the FDA proposed research to “validate an alternative approach for bioequivalence studies for certain animal drugs” with the goal of providing “animal drug sponsors with a scientifically sound method to demonstrate bioequivalence of certain drugs that does not require that dogs be euthanized as part of the study.”
The proposed study would simply involve the minimally invasive procedure of collecting blood samples from the dogs and administering them with oral tablets containing “two commonly used, generally well-tolerated medicines.”
This alternative approach would mitigate the agency’s need for “terminal, artificial infection clinical endpoint bioequivalence studies,” as the proposed study would not require the dogs to be artificially infected. Additionally, it would measure the bioequivalence of approved antiparasitic drugs by in vitro dissolution rather than through “bioequivalence trials using animal subjects.”
“We anticipate, therefore, that dogs will no longer need to be used for bioequivalence studies for these types of drugs,” the FDA said.
For now, however, the department pledged to make “every effort” to “ensure their health from the time that they arrive at the test facilities until they are retired for adoption as pets.” They will also receive regular veterinary care so they “remain happy, well socialized and healthy.”
Response from Lawmakers and Activists
The FDA’s move comes after both Republicans and Democrats have criticized expensive and cruel animal tests conducted under several federal agencies. In response to the latest announcement, legislators on both sides of the aisle expressed their support.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), who co-signed a letter urging the FDA to adopt out dogs after experiments, told IJR:
“The FDA has shown real commitment to reducing wasteful animal testing with its decisions this year to cancel problematic nicotine addiction experiments on squirrel monkeys and now to develop alternatives to deadly dog tests, programs I have been openly critical of for scientific, economic and humane reasons. As I have done since coming to Congress, I will continue to ensure that the government is meeting its mandates to replace expensive and unnecessary animal testing with high-tech alternatives whenever possible.”
Additionally, Rep. Dina Titus (D-N.V.), another co-signer of the letter to the FDA, also reacted to the news in a statement to IJR:
“Having worked for years to stop lethal and unnecessary dog experimentation at our federal agencies, I applaud the FDA’s announcement today that it will be phasing out this shameful practice and instead pursuing adoption for its lab dogs and investments in more humane research technology. This progressive move stands in stark contrast to the VA’s insistence on continuing outdated dog testing and I hope Secretary Wilkie takes note.”
Taxpayer watchdog White Coat Waste Project, a group that has garnered over 400,000 signatures on a petition to the FDA and other agencies urging them to retire dogs from their labs, also celebrated with a statement from Justin Goodman, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, to IJR:
“Scott Gottlieb is a hero for dogs, monkeys and taxpayers. Hundreds of thousands of White Coat Waste Project supporters have urged FDA to stop dog testing and retire dogs from its labs, and under Commissioner Gottlieb’s leadership the FDA is setting the standard for efforts to eliminate wasteful and cruel government animal tests.”
While the FDA appears to be ready to take strides towards eliminating inhumane dog experiments, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken heat lately over its own deadly tests involving man’s best friend.