Decision Maker Response

Dina Titus’s response

Jan 4, 2017 — I would like to thank the White Coat Waste Project for starting this important petition, and the more than 100,000 citizens who have asked Congress to end unnecessary and cruel dog experimentation in government laboratories. Your voices are already making a difference, and this is going to be a priority for me in the 115th Congress.

As a result of the outpouring of concern about this issue from my constituents and other Americans, I have initiated a bipartisan effort in Congress to investigate animal testing in government laboratories. As a first step, we have formally requested that the Government Accountability Office conduct an audit of what is being done to dogs and other animals in federal laboratories, what are the results, and what are the costs to taxpayers. As a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, I am especially concerned about the disturbing experiments on dogs being conducted at various VA facilities.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have found that animal testing in government laboratories sometimes continues even when it is unnecessary. A few years ago, I discovered that a National Institutes of Health lab was subjecting infant monkeys to cruel psychological experiments. For more than 30 years, the multimillion-dollar studies involved traumatizing newborn monkeys by removing them from their mothers at birth and even addicting them to alcohol. After receiving requests from some of my colleagues and me -- and pleas from thousands of Americans -- the NIH ultimately agreed that these studies were not a judicious use of taxpayer resources and ended the project.

I am very proud of this great victory for animals and taxpayers. But the ongoing experiments on animals demonstrate that there is still much more work to do.

There are compelling scientific, humane, and economic reasons to end animal testing. There is inspiring work by Congress, federal agencies, and industry to replace old-fashioned animal testing with high-tech alternatives like “organs-on-a-chip” that are faster, cheaper, and more effective. We need to support and accelerate such efforts.

Thank you for speaking out and urging Congress to take action to protect dogs, modernize science, and cut government waste. My colleagues and I are paying attention and working to swiftly address this pressing issue.