NIH "Anticipates" End to Bad Relationship

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) finally took steps to end the use of Class B dealers by its outside researchers, after years of pressure from Congress and animal welfare organizations and faced with the conclusion of a National Academy of Sciences report that “Class B dealers are not necessary as providers of random source animals for NIH-related research.” While this change is most welcome, it has two flaws: NIH “anticipate[s]” that this new policy will be fully implemented “no later than 2015,” which is both too uncertain and too long. Moreover, the new policy does not cover cats. In its report on FY 2012 funding, the Senate Appropriations Committee once again expresses an interest in NIH’s progress toward requiring that its outside researchers find other sources for dogs and cats. The committee report “urges NIH to set 2015 as the outside target date for completing this process.” NIH claims that no similar policy change regarding cats is needed because they are available in sufficient numbers from Class A dealers. In light of this, the committee quite reasonably recommended that NIH take immediate steps to “prohibit the use of Class B cats as well.”

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