AWA, rats, mice, birds

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2001:

WASHINGTON D.C.–The Animal Welfare Act is more secure and the likelihood of the USDA promptly issuing new enforcement regulations requiring federally inspected laboratories to report their use of rats, mice, and birds is greater as result of Senate restructuring due to the resignation from the Republican Party of Vermont Senator James Jeffords.

Jeffords’ resignation cost the Republicans the Senate majority–and meant that Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) succeeded Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.

Cochran, at request of the National Association for Biomedical Research, used his position during the last Congress to obtain an amendment withholding funding from the Animal Welfare Act regulatory rewrite required by the terms of settlement of a 1998 lawsuit brought against the USDA by the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation, a subsidiary of the American Antivivisection Society.

The House of Representatives, still controlled by Republicans, has passed a similar measure this year, but it must be ratified by the Senate to take effect.

However, according to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service chief Ron DeHaven, DVM, the terms of the lawsuit settlement can only be delayed by political manuevering; they cannot be rescinded, because they have been ratified in federal court and have survived the appeal process.

Extending Animal Welfare Act coverage to rats, mice, and birds will increase the number of federally inspected laboratories from about 1,200 now to more than 2,000.

U.S. lab animal use

Animal species Top yr Peak total 1999
Dogs 1979 211,104 70,541
Cats 1974 74,259 23,238
Non-human primates 1987 62,392 54,927
Guinea pigs 1985 598,903 266,129
Hamsters 1976 503,590 201,593
Rabbits 1987 554,385 280,222
Farm animals 1991 214,759 155,409
Other tracked anmls 1992 529,308 165,939
All tracked species 1985 2,153,787 1,200.000

Laboratory use of farm animals was not tracked until 1990.
“Other,” until 1990, was called “Wild animals.”

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