Little Cat Wins

Little Cat Wins

July 27, 2007

The Humane Society of the United States applauded a move by the U.S. House of Representatives July 26, 2007 to strengthen the federal protections for pets and laboratory animals. The House accepted an amendment to the Farm Bill by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) that prevents stolen pets from being sold into research, bars the use of live animals in medical device sales demonstrations and increases fines for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

One provision of the legislation is a response to a recent high-profile incident earlier this year at the Cleveland Clinic, in which a staff member demonstrated a medical device on a live dog as a sales gimmick. Another provision is in response to recent investigations of "Class B" dealers who have been known to traffic in family pets for research.

"Animals in research must be treated humanely, not used frivolously, and must be not be obtained from disreputable sources," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. "This action by the Congress clamps down on the few unscrupulous animal dealers who steal or procure family pets for research, and will put a stop to a demonstration procedure that the vast majority of people in the biomedical research community consider unethical."

The HSUS thanked House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for accepting the Israel-Doyle amendment as part of the Farm Bill. The amendment combined two HSUS-driven bills previously introduced in the House:

  • H.R. 1280, the Pet Safety and Protection Act, by Rep. Doyle and Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), prohibits the use in research of random source dogs and cats obtained from Class B dealers, who sell animals acquired from a variety of sources rather than those bred specifically for research. Such random source animals may be stolen pets or those acquired fraudulently through "free to good home" ads, and include 18,000 to 19,000 dogs and cats per year.
  • H.R. 2193, the Animal Welfare Accountability Improvement Act, by Rep. Israel and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), bars the use of live animals for sales demonstrations of medical devices. Recently, at the Cleveland Clinic, a doctor induced an aneurysm in a live dog and had several salespeople try their hands at a medical device to market the product. The legislation also increases fines for researchers violating the AWA.

"I’ve been working for 10 years to shut these guys down," said Congressman Doyle. "This is a tremendous step forward towards achieving our goal of ending the systemic abuses of the Animal Welfare Act in the gray market for dogs and cats.  I’m very pleased that the House adopted our amendment."

"We need to ensure that animals are treated humanely at all times and we must do everything we can to prevent them from being stolen for research purposes or abused to sell medical devices," said Congressman Israel. "The intent of the American Welfare Act was to ensure that animals in both research and home settings were treated humanely and to protect the owners of animals from theft of their animals. Yet more than 40 years later, we are still working to achieve this goal. We’ve now strengthened this important legislation to ensure that animals aren’t tortured for sales or marketing purposes and to prevent pets and stray animals on the street from being stolen and sold to research



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