HEARTS Act will advance humane and human-relevant non-animal science in the US
We are excited to report that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has adopted a new groundbreaking guideline on Defined Approaches for Skin Sensitisation (DASS), employing a selection of non-animal methods in approved combinations for predicting if chemical substances could cause human skin sensitisation.
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, and Dr. John P. Gluck, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, have joined us to applaud the reintroduction of the HEARTS Act (Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences Act) of 2021 to promote the use of humane and effective non-animal research and testing methods in experiments.
The Act, reintroduced by Congressmembers Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Ken Calvert (CA-42), aims to ensure that humane and effective non-animal research and testing methods are prioritized in research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which currently spends at least $12 billion of taxpayer dollars a year on animal experiments.
There is a growing awareness in the US and globally of the limitations of animal research and its inability to make reliable predictions for humans. A focus on animal research may hinder the realisation of innovations in science and technology that could deliver safer, and more effective therapies, more quickly.
There is a growing awareness that animal-based research and methodologies cannot reliably answer the vexing scientific questions that arise in seeking to cure human diseases, develop new drugs and ensure the safety of new products. For the challenges that confront us, we need to focus on humane and human-relevant science,” said Dr. Goodall. “But current law sets low expectations and provides little incentive for researchers to earnestly search for and use non-animal alternatives. The HEARTS act will raise the bar to improve the quality as well as the humaneness of our science.”
Dr. John P. Gluck a former primate researcher, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico said: “The legislative moves described in the HEARTs Act of 2021 to incentivize researchers to take more seriously the ethical and scientific benefits of using and developing non-animal alternatives will help to bridge the problematic gap that has remained in place in the US for so long.”
“I’m honored to introduce the HEARTS Act to prioritize the use of non-animal testing methods in the National Institutes of Health review system,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “These non-animal testing methods are more humane, and often more accurate and less costly, than increasingly outdated and wasteful inhumane animal research methods. If the NIH review system starts to prioritize non-animal testing, it will only strengthen the value and accuracy of its findings in the years to come and improve the lives of Americans and people around the world.”
“With a growing number of scientifically sound, non-animal testing alternatives, taxpayer funded research should prioritize alternative methods whenever possible,” said Rep. Calvert. “The HEARTS Act would take another meaningful step in protecting animals from unnecessary use in federally funded research. This bill is a win for animals and taxpayers alike, and I look forward to working with Representative Roybal-Allard to get this bipartisan legislation signed into law.”
Monica Engebretson, our North America Head of Public Affairs said, “Prioritizing use of non-animal methods in taxpayer-funded research could improve the cost efficacy of our federal research investment and foster innovation in science which would lead to better therapies for human conditions and save animal lives. Cruelty Free International is grateful for the leadership of Representatives Roybal-Allard and Calvert in sponsoring the HEARTS Act and we look forward to working with them as the bill advances though Congress.”
A SurveyUSA poll we commissioned shows that an amazing 88% of Americans support a federal law requiring scientists to use non-animal methods where they are available.