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We back call for end to use of live animals by U.S. Department of Defense

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Animals currently used in military training and other tests

We are backing an amendment to the U.S. Department of Defense funding bill which calls for the phase out of the use of live animals in military training and other tests, in favor of humane alternatives, in five years.

The recently introduced National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (H.R. 2670) is a must-pass authorization bill that directs how federal funds should or should not be used by the Department of Defense (DOD).

An amendment to the Bill, offered by Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and supported by us, directs the Secretary of Defense to create a plan to phase out the use of live animals by the DOD in five years.

The amendment reads,  


(a) STUDY. The Secretary of Defense shall conduct a study – (1) to evaluate the use of live animals by the Department of Defense; and (2) to identify functions performed by live animals that could be fulfilled using alternative methods.

(b) PLAN. Based on the results of the study conducted under subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall develop and implement a plan (which shall include measurable objectives and timelines) to discontinue the use of live animals by the Department of Defense by not later than five years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) PROGRESS REPORTS. – Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and on an annual basis thereafter, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the progress of the Secretary in implementing the plan under subsection (b).

Historically, the DOD has used live animals to train military personnel in trauma training exercises that may involve stabbing, burning or breaking limbs of animals to simulate battlefield injuries in humans. Animals have also been used to test weaponry, including bombs and biological, chemical, and nuclear agents. While the DOD has made some efforts utilize alternatives, such as training videos, mannequins, and cadavers for trauma training, it has not established measurable objectives for ending the use of animals. This amendment could change that.

Monica Engebretson, our Head of Public Affairs for North America said, “Directing the Department of Defense to establish a pro-active strategy for ending the use of live animals and to report annually on its progress toward this goal will help to usher in humane and human-relevant approaches to research, testing and training that will benefit our troops and prevent animal suffering. We thank Representative Moskowitz for offering this amendment and hope it is included in the final bill that will be sent to President Biden this year.”

The amendments are set to be considered by the House Rules Committee soon and the full U.S. House will have the ability to support the amendment when it is sent to the floor for consideration. A separate version will also work its way through the U.S Senate. Once both the Senate and House pass their versions of the bill, differences in the bills must be reconciled by a conference committee representing both Senate and House, and then approved by each chamber before a final bill is sent to the President for signature.

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