Shaheen joins legislation to connect retired government laboratory animals with loving homes
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation last week which would ensure every federal agency that uses animals for research has policies in place to facilitate the relocation of retired, healthy lab animals to private homes, animal rescue shelters, or reputable sanctuaries. The Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation, and Research (AFTER) Act would mirror successful policies already in place at the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The legislation is led by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
“These regulated laboratory animals deserve a loving home, and there is no reason that this shouldn’t be the standard across all agencies. We know these policies work, as they’ve been successful at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health,” said Senator Shaheen. “By encouraging federal agencies to work hand in hand with rescue organizations, shelters, and sanctuaries, we can provide these animals with the safe and loving environments they deserve.”
The bill provides federal agencies with the flexibility to devise their own policies, with the goal of ensuring that these animals are retired and not euthanized. The legislation requires animals be evaluated by a licensed veterinarian and deemed healthy before leaving an agency, helping to ensure a smooth transition to a new environment. The bill encourages federal agencies to work with non-profit organizations which help place retired animals in sanctuaries and shelters across the country, rather than just the area surrounding the agency laboratory they are leaving.
Shaheen has worked extensively to protect animals, co-sponsoring landmark anti-animal cruelty legislation, Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which was passed into law in 2019. Shaheen also co-sponsored the Puppy Protection Act, legislation designed to crack down on puppy mills and expand protections for dogs.