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Require NIH to Prioritize Non-Animal Research Methods

Require NIH to Prioritize Non-Animal Research Methods

Name: Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences (HEARTS) Act

Bill Number: HR 1209

While the Animal Welfare Act requires researchers to consider alternatives to the use of animals when they propose their research protocols—as well as avoiding painful procedures and preventing unnecessary duplication of previous animal experiments—there is little oversight of the requirements, and many animal research projects are approved without adequate review or justification.

The Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences (HEARTS) Act, HR 1209, would augment the current AWA requirements to prioritize the use of non-animal research methods. It would amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a system of incentives to encourage the use of existing humane and scientifically relevant non-animal methods in research proposals from all NIH researchers and from researchers receiving funding from NIH.

Furthermore, the amendment would require all animal research protocols considered by NIH to be reviewed by an individual with expertise in non-animal research methods. This individual would evaluate whether there are better ways to conduct research than those proposed. Research proposal guidelines would be developed to help in conducting searches for non-animal methods and to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the harms and benefits of using animals, taking into account the suffering, pain and distress of the animals being used.

This bill would help to greatly reduce the number of animals used for research, while helping with the development of more non-animal methods for conducting research on human health issues.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to support this important legislation.
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  • Your Representative

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Message

Please support new priorities and incentives to reduce the use of animals for NIH research

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support of HR 1209, the Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences (HEARTS) Act. This legislation would ensure that non-animal methods are prioritized, where applicable and feasible, in proposals for all research to be conducted or supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This bill was introduced because of deficiencies in compliance with requirements under the Animal Welfare Act which mandate a review of non-animal test methods before submitting an animal testing protocol for approval.

This bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to give more thorough consideration to any proposals for animal research before they can be approved. It would direct the NIH to develop a system of incentives to encourage the use of existing humane and scientifically relevant non-animal methods in research proposals from all NIH researchers and from researchers receiving funding from NIH.

It will also require the establishment of research proposal guidelines that would help in conducting searches for non-animal methods and to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the harms and benefits of using animals, taking into account the suffering, pain and distress of the animals being used.

While the NIH has supported life-saving research that has greatly improved the health and well-being of people around the world, it still relies heavily on animals for its research. Unfortunately, far too many of these animal studies have yielded little or no benefits for humans. This bill would give incentives and motivation for the development and use of many more non-animal, human relevant models, instead of relying on outdated and often ineffective research methods that cause pain, suffering and death to animals.

Please give your support to this important humane and human relevant legislation.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]