Class B animal dealers deemed “unnecessary”
A National Academies report released Friday concludes that researchers have no need to deal with “random source” dealers of laboratory dogs.
Random source, or class B dealers are those that procure and sell dogs and cats from the general animal population to laboratories, rounding up dogs and cats from animal shelters, auctions, private individuals and other “random sources.” Class A dealers are those that sell animals bred for a life in the laboratory.
The report comes in response to a request by Congress through the National Institutes of Health for an evaluation of the need to use random source dogs and cats in NIH-funded research.
The report states that “despite new enforcement guidelines and intensified inspection efforts, not all origins of (Class B) animals are or can be traced. The USDA simply cannot assure that stolen or lost pets will not enter research laboratories via the Class B dealer system.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture licenses Class B dealers.
The findings in the report — mostly praised by both the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) — could provide momentum in Congress to eliminate Class B dealers, whose numbers have been rapidly shrinking.
According to the report, 20 percent of cats and dogs used in research were obtained from Class B dealers in 2002; by 2008, only 3 percent were.
One of the alternative sources suggested in the report — which stopped short of ruling out the use of random source animals entirely — is for researchers to buy animals directly from pounds and shelters.
“AAVS is extremely disappointed, however, that the Committee fell short of recommending entirely against the use of random source animals, including former pets, in NIH research. The Committee suggests that if the use of random source animals is deemed necessary, one option is that NIH research laboratories actually go directly to animal pounds and shelters to acquire cats and dogs for experiments.
The AAVS says that approach, known as pound seizure, could led to problems, with laboratories focusing on poor and overcrowded shelters, and shelters that cooperated losing public trust.
“A shelter (or) pound that releases animals directly to research facilities will lose the public’s trust, and this could decrease the number of animals brought to the shelter … and increase the number of abandoned animals,” the AAVS said. “AAVS encourages Congress to eliminate Class B dealers and to address the public’s concerns about former pets ending up in research by prohibiting the provision of random source animals for research.”
The report failed to consider other means of scientific study that do not involve the invasive or harmful use of cats and dogs, AAVS said — even though such alternative methods are receiving increasing attention.
AAVS’s educational division, Animalearn, recently released a report, Dying to Learn: Exposing the supply and use of dogs and cats in higher education. To view and download the report, visit www.DyingToLearn.org.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aavs, american anti-vivisection society, animalearn, cats, class a, class b, dealers, dogs, dyingtolearn, hsus, humane society, laboratory, national academies, national institutes of health, nih, pound seizure, pounds, random source, report, research animals, shelters, usda