Name: Stop Relying on Dogs for Human-Relevant Research Initiatives
From 2015 to 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
purchased 206 beagles and 30 hounds (at least nine of them puppies) at a cost
of $290,000, according to findings from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
request filed by NAVS earlier this year.
The FOIA was filed, in part, to discover the outcome of the
NIH’s decision in 2013 to end its funding of random source (Class B) dealers to
purchase dogs for use in research. NAVS initially welcomed this news, as Class
B dealers have a reputation for falsifying documents, mistreating animals and
failing to provide sources for their dogs. We then discovered the details of a
pilot program launched by the NIH in 2010 to use purpose-bred beagles and mixed-breed
hounds from Class A animal dealers (breeders) instead. Read
While these purpose-bred dogs will no longer be under
suspicion of once having been someone’s beloved pet, the NIH failed to
recognize that a dog should not be subjected to harmful experimentation,
whether coming from a home, an animal shelter or a breeding facility. Many of
these dogs were bred and held at a breeding facility for up to two years, until
they were suitable for use as adults.
The second reason for NAVS filing this FOIA was to determine
how much taxpayer money was being spent to fund the use of dogs by the NIH. While
the cost of these dogs varies based on age, breed and suppliers, the average
cost for a single dog runs approximately $1,230. This dog may be used for a few
weeks before being euthanized or may be subjected to years of testing before being
liberated from life in an NIH lab.
There are far better—and more ethical—ways to conduct
research into human health problems than relying on an unpredictive non-human dog
model. The NIH is perceived by many in the scientific community as setting the “gold
standard” for research— as such, it should use its influence to lead the nation
in replacing animal models with human-relevant methods of research.
Call to Actions:
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Please support an end to the use of dogs for testing and research into human health issues
Dear [Decision Maker],
Since 2013, when the NIH ended the use of Class B random source dogs for research, dogs have been bred for use in NIH laboratories. From 2015-2017, the NIH purchased 206 beagles and 30 hounds (at least nine of them puppies) at a cost of $290,000.At a time when non-animal based innovative methods of conducting research are proliferating, why is the NIH continuing to spend significant taxpayer funds on perpetuating the use of dogs for research and testing? Results from animal tests do not translate well into data regarding human health--a priority with the agency--yet dogs continue to give their lives for this purpose.Please consider implementing a plan to eliminate the use of dogs from experiments approved and funded by the NIH. The NIH is viewed by many in the scientific community as setting the "gold standard" for research across the country, and the continued use of dogs for testing that can be accomplished more predictably and humanely with non-human models dims the luster of its reputation.Your leadership on this issue is necessary before any real reform can be achieved by the NIH regarding their use of dogs.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]