The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has proposed a rule altering information requirements under the Animal Welfare Act. The rule would remove the requirement that research facilities update their registration information every three years, remove the requirement of continual review of research animal use activities, remove the requirement that facilities request an inactive status, and remove the requirement that the Institutional Official or Chief Executive Officer sign the annual report. The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rule until November 16, 2020.
APHIS Proposes Changes to AWA Information Requirements
Permit Granted to Mystic Aquarium for Import of Beluga Whales
The National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association has announced that a permit has been issued to Mystic Aquarium for the import of five beluga whales for the purposes of scientific research.
Friends of Animals Challenges Mystic Aquarium Permit Issuance
Friends of Animals has filed suit against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the National Marine Fisheries Service, claiming that the agency violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act and National Environmental Policy Act when it issued a permit for Mystic Aquarium to import five beluga whales.
NMFS and NOAA Seek Nominations to Marine Mammal Scientific Review Group
The National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are soliciting nominations to fill vacancies and gaps in expertise in three new independent Scientific Review Groups to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. The agencies are accepting nominations until October 5, 2020.
PETA Files Social Media First Amendment Suit Against TAMU President
PETA has filed suit against the President of Texas A&M University, alleging that he violated PETA’s First Amendment rights by deleting comments consistent with PETA’s campaign criticizing the university’s canine muscular dystrophy laboratory from its social media pages.
USDA Settles 2017 Blackout Lawsuits
Two cases stemming from 2017 when the United States Department of Agriculture removed Animal Welfare Act enforcement records from its website—an incident referred to as the USDA Blackout—have been settled. The settlement includes the agency’s commitment that it has restored and will continue to provide public access to the records at issue.
FDA Releases Drafts of Five Draft Guidance Related to Animal Drugs
The Food and Drug Administration has released five draft guidance for industry documents related to animal drugs on effectiveness studies, biomarkers and surrogate endpoints, programs to support the approval of new drugs for minor uses and species, use of foreign data, and use of real-world evidence. The agency is seeking comments on all drafts until October 13, 2020.
Project Chimps Files Suit Against Former Caretakers
Sanctuary Project Chimps has filed suit against two former employees, alleging they have spread false information about the sanctuary, violated non-disclosure agreements, defamed the organization, and driven away potential donors. Project Chimps seeks statutory relief, injunctive relief, return of property, accounting of proceeds defendants have gained through the use of proprietary information, review of defendants’ electronic devices and accounts, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Groups Sue Over Conditions of Primates Used in Research
The New-England Anti-Vivisection Society and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, represented by the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic, have filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that the agency’s rejection of their petition and requesting that the agency put into place appropriate psychological well-being standards for nonhuman primates as required by the Animal Welfare Act is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act."
National Academies Committee Assesses Veterans Affairs’ Use of Dogs in Biomedical Research
A national advisory panel has concluded that most research involving dogs conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs is unnecessary. The committee’s report also makes several recommendations for the VA to promote the development of alternatives to using animals in research and for improving the care and welfare of those that are.