You are here:

We support the HEARTS Act to increase the use of humane alternatives to animals in US funded research

Published on


Join us by contacting your US Representative today!

We support the HEARTS Act to increase the use of humane alternatives to animals in US funded research

Cruelty Free International estimates that the United States uses over 13 million animals in experiments each year making the US the 3rd largest animal user in the world behind China and Japan. The concern about animal testing goes beyond animal welfare. There is a growing awareness of the limitations of animal research and its inability to make reliable predictions for human clinical trials

Modern non-animal methods not only spare animals from pain and death, they are increasingly better at predicting human response. Nearly everyone can agree that non-animal methods should be used as soon as they are available to replace the use of animals.

However, U.S. law does not require that experimenters use available alternatives.

As a result, the millions of animals used in research experiments annually in the US and the over 12 billion tax-payer dollars spent by the National Institute of Health (NIH) each year on animal experiments maybe used/spent where modern non-animal alternatives could have been used instead.

This is why Cruelty Free International is supporting the Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences Act [The HEARTS Act H.R. 1209] introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA).

The bill would amend the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 to:

  • provide meaningful incentives for the use of scientifically satisfactory non-animal alternatives in research proposals seeking NIH funding.
  • require that investigators fully evaluate available non-animal methods using standardized search guidelines.
  • ensure that research proposals are reviewed by at least one person with expertise in non-animal research methods and that reviewers have access to a reference librarian with expertise in evaluating the adequacy of the search methods used for alternatives.
  • require harm-benefit analyses of proposed animal studies

“As an animal lover, I am excited to introduce the HEARTS Act to prioritize the use of non-animal testing methods in the National Institutes of Health review system. These non-animal testing methods are more humane, and often more accurate and less costly, than increasingly outdated and wasteful inhumane animal research methods. Over the years, NIH’s groundbreaking research has greatly improved the lives of Americans and people around the world.  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,” Rep Royball-Allard said.

I’m a strong advocate for the National Institutes of Health’s life-saving research that has greatly improved the health and well-being of people around the world,” Rep. Calvert said. “I believe we can further improve their important work by moving away from costly, duplicative animal research and prioritize humane and scientifically superior non-animal methods that are increasingly available. The current NIH review system needs to be strengthened to ensure that accurate, cutting-edge non-animal methods are used whenever possible.”

In his book, Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals, Dr. John P. Gluck, a former primate researcher who served on many Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees charged with reviewing research proposals, wrote: “Even though we now have vast searchable information resources for alternatives, few researchers take the time to perform even cursory searches of the relevant databases.”

Dr. Gluck has enthusiastically supported the HEARTs Act. He said, “the legislative moves described in the HEARTs Act of 2019 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 United States for so long.”  

Prioritizing the use of modern non-animal methods could better use taxpayer dollars, increase return on investment and save animal lives. Anyone who is serious about ending animal suffering and advancing public health should support the HEARTs Act.       

US residents can help advance the HEARTS Act by contacting their US Representative and asking that they become a cosponsor of the bill. Take action here.