(Presidentialwire.com)- A bipartisan group of House lawmakers sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health last week demanding answers on the agency’s “cruel dog tests.”
The NIH has recently come under fire for funding experiments using dogs and other animals.
Last Thursday eight Republican and two Democrat lawmakers requested information from the NIH on its animal testing operations as well as the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease’s planned $2 million puppy tests that were canceled under pressure from Congress and the watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.
In their letter, the lawmakers, led by South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace, explain how members of Congress have continued to press the issue of dogs being used in testing. In February, over a dozen lawmakers raised concerns about the NIH spending $2.3 million to use beagles in cocaine tests.
They argue that other federal agencies have already launched efforts to curb testing on dogs and other animals but so far, the NIH has no plans in place to do the same. They write that the NIH’s inaction is “particularly notable given the fact that the NIH has frequently acknowledged the wastefulness of animal testing.”
In their letter, the lawmakers ask the NIH to explain why it awarded a $1.8 million contract to use dogs in hay fever testing. They also ask how many dogs and how much taxpayer money the NIH has used over the last five years to assess new drugs submitted to the FDA for approval.
The lawmakers also want the NIH to explain whether it has met with the FDA to discuss finding ways to reduce drug testing on dogs and “use alternative testing methods to fulfill regulatory requirements.” They want to know what “incentives” the NIH could provide to grantees and contractors to get them to avoid testing on animals.
In addition to Congresswoman Mace, the letter was signed by Republicans Nicole Malliotakis (NY), Great Steube (FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Brian Mast (FL), Bill Posey (FL), and Young Kim (CA), along with Democrat Reps Elissa Slotkin (MI) and Dina Titus (NV).