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All Animals Used for Federal Research Should Be Considered for Adoption or Retirement

All Animals Used for Federal Research Should Be Considered for Adoption or Retirement

Name: Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments, and Research (AFTER) Act

Bill Number: HR 2897/S 2322

Animals used in research are routinely euthanized when a research project is complete, even though they may be otherwise healthy and suitable for adoption. The Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments, and Research (AFTER) Act, HR 2897 and S 2322, would implement such a policy for all federal research facilities.

This bill is particularly important after the mass euthanasia of laboratory animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. With staffing greatly reduced at research labs, the solution to who cares for the animals was to euthanize thousands of animals, while bemoaning the loss not of animal lives but of the research they represented.

The AFTER Act would amend the Animal Welfare Act to require any federal laboratory research or exhibition facilities using animals to develop standards and requirements to facilitate the adoption or non-laboratory placement of any animal no longer needed for research. These standards must have guidelines to determine whether an animal would be suitable for release to an animal rescue organization, animal sanctuary, animal shelter or to an individual. For the purposes of this legislation, the following definitions are used:

An animal rescue organization is one with the purpose of rescuing animals that are unwanted, abandoned or otherwise in need of placement and finding permanent adoptive homes for such animals.

An animal sanctuary operates a place of refuge where unwanted, displaced or retired animals are provided care for their lifetime. Animal sanctuaries are prohibited from:

  • Allowing unescorted public visitations;
  • Engaging in commercial trade;
  • Breeding their animals;
  • Permitting direct contact between the public and such an animal;
  • Allowing the use of an animal for performance or exhibition purposes;
  • Conducting research that causes pain or distresses to an animal.

An animal shelter accepts or seizes animals for the purposes of caring for the animals, placing them in a permanent adoptive home or carrying out law enforcement purposes.

Federal research facilities would have 90 days from the time of passage of this bill to develop their plans for adoption.

This bill differs from the Humane Retirement Act, HR 2850, in that it allows the placement of all types of animals after research—not just dogs and cats, as is the case with HR 2850—but only from federal research facilities. The AFTER Act would also require each facility to establish their own standards for adoption, instead of having a uniform policy that each institution must follow.

The sentience of animals must be recognized before harmful use and abuse will stop.

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representative and urge them to support the AFTER Act.
  2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.



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Please require federal research facilities to prioritize adoption or retirement for all animals used for research and testing

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support HR 2897/S 2322, which would require all federal research institutions using animals to adopt standards to facilitate the adoption or non-laboratory placement of any suitable animal no longer needed for research. The "suitability" of animals for adoption or retirement to a sanctuary must be defined in the institution's own plans.

Too often, animals used in research are routinely euthanized when a research is done, even though they may be otherwise healthy. The readiness with which researchers euthanized thousands of animals after the current COVID-19 crisis caused a reduction in staffing, and the regret that was expressed for the loss of research, but not the loss of animal lives was itself tragic. Federal researchers need to recognize and respect the lives of the animals they use.

There are many states that have already enacted laws to require that healthy dogs and cats be made available for adoption. This bill goes one step further by also requiring that animals not appropriate to be kept as companion animals have a chance to be retired to a sanctuary suited to the needs of their species.

I hope that you will give your full support to the passage of this measure. It would give structure to the disposition of animals no longer needed for laboratory research, requiring each federal research facility to develop the necessary guidelines to accomplish an objective that is already being practiced by some facilities around the country.

Please consider becoming a sponsor of this non-partisan bill to help it move forward this session. Thank you for your consideration.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]