The use of random source (Class B) dogs for National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored research is finally coming to an end. As of October 1, 2014, NIH will not allow any new grants to purchase or use NIH funds to support the use of random source dogs. NIH ended funding for research using random source cats in 2012.
Since its inception, AWI has been at the forefront of the fight to stop using random source dogs and cats and shut down Class B dealers. Too often, unscrupulous dealers have mistreated these animals as they flouted the laws and regulations (see Summer 2009 AWI Quarterly). AWI has repeatedly called upon NIH to only allow Class A (purpose-bred) dogs and cats for funded research, arguing that those dealers, which are more likely to adhere to humane standards, could provide all the dogs needed for research. After a multi-year pilot study, NIH did agree with AWI, stating “The pilot demonstrated that Class A vendors can provide large, mature, socialized, out-bred hounds or mongrels” (NOT-OD-14-034). Science Online quotes AWI’s president, Cathy Liss: “‘We’re very pleased that NIH has taken this action. It’s long overdue.’”
Class B dogs and cats may still be used for research, testing or education not funded by NIH. As noted in the Science Online article, AWI is urging Congress to pass the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which would effectively outlaw the use of all random source dogs and cats in the United States. “‘Only then,’” Cathy told Science Online News Editor David Grimm, “‘we will eliminate this blight on research.’”