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Peters Announces Bipartisan Bill to Help Retired Government Laboratory Animals Find New Homes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) announced that he recently introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation and Research (AFTER) Act with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Martha McSally (R-AZ). The bipartisan legislation would direct all federal agencies to develop and maintain a policy allowing for the adoption or retirement of dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other regulated animals no longer needed for research in federal labs. 

“Ensuring that animals no longer used in federal research can be adopted is the right thing to do,” said Senator Peters. “I am proud to partner with Senator Collins on this bipartisan legislation that would encourage federal agencies to collaborate with the shelters that can provide these animals a safe, nurturing environment for the next phase of their lives.”

“There is no reason animals that are suitable for adoption or retirement should be killed by our federal agencies,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan legislation continues to build on the successful policies at DOD, VA, and NIH while directing other federal agencies to facilitate and encourage the retirement of animals to help ensure they are placed in loving homes or sanctuaries whenever possible.”

“I’m glad to partner with Senators Collins, Peters and McSally on this bill to help ensure we’re making every effort to give retiring animals the opportunity to live out their lives in caring homes,” said Senator Shaheen. “This is common-sense, bipartisan legislation that would strengthen animal welfare protections. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to lend their support.”

“Every animal deserves the chance to be adopted into a loving, caring home,” said Senator McSally. “It’s past time that we give research animals an opportunity to find a new home after they’ve been used in federal research labs.”

“On behalf of our more than 2 million members in Maine, Michigan, Arizona, New Hampshire and beyond, we applaud Senators Collins, Peters, McSally and Shaheen for introducing the AFTER Act to ensure dogs, cats, primates and other animals get a second chance at life outside of a lab when government experiments end,” said Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.

More than 50,000 Animal Welfare Act regulated animals (mainly dogs, cats, monkeys, and rabbits) were used in federal labs in fiscal year 2018.  Currently, since federal agencies do not have policies on adopting or retiring animals that are no longer needed in research, many animals are killed.  The AFTER Act will ensure that every federal agency that uses animals for research has policies in place to facilitate the relocation of retired, healthy lab animals to private homes, animal rescues, or reputable sanctuaries.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-02) and Jackie Walorski (IN-02).