Paws Up! And Down!
Up to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for announcing a plan to limit funding to obtain cats from Class B animal dealers by October 1, 2012. And down to NIH for still using cats in laboratory experiments and for delaying the exclusion of dogs being purchased from Class B dealers until 2015.
According to an NIH release, “The National Institutes of Health is implementing a plan to limit the expenditure of funds for the acquisition of cats for NIH-supported research to legal sources other than USDA Class B dealers.”
Class B dealers, often referred to as random source dealers, obtain animals from wherever they find them, including animal shelters and animal control facilities, flea markets, and auctions. There are approximately eleven active Class B dealers in the United States.
Although this may at first seem like a victory for cats, it is only cats from Class B dealers who are spared; NIH will continue to perform experiments on cats who are bred specifically for NIH. Dogs are not spared in this initiative. NIH will not implement the plan to limit funding for the purchase of dogs from Class B dealers until 2015.
In the meantime, there is legislation before the U.S. Congress that would eliminate the licensing of Class B animal dealers, HR 2256, the Pet Safety and Protection Act.
Take Action: Send the director of NIH a note of thanks for sparing cats and encouraging his agency to move up the date on dogs. In addition, contact your legislators and request they support HR 2256.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892