The change in policy was not officially announced and instead was reported by The Hill at the end of last week, three months after the change was made without announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In the policy document, the agency details that ‘healthy live animals’ that are available following ‘regulatory investigations’ will be allowed to be adopted as pets. Previously, animals would often be euthanized following the completion of research.
The animals currently used in research and made available for adoption will include dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and, in certain circumstances, farm animals such as pigs and sheep. Nonhuman primates will also potentially be transferred to an approved animal sanctuary.
The action follows the proposal of an amendment to the US Animal Welfare Act to allow for the adoption or non-laboratory placement of certain animals used in Federal research, otherwise known as the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments, and Research Act or the ‘AFTER’ Act.
As a result, a number of backers of this amendment welcomed the FDA’s decision to enact this policy change.
As a cosponsor of the AFTER Act, I applaud the FDA for enacting a policy allowing lab animals to be retired & adopted.https://t.co/YPjkwJAGoQ— Congressman Fred Keller (@RepFredKeller) February 10, 2020
The decision follows a high-profile case that saw the agency end a study into the impact of nicotine addiction, after four squirrel monkeys died during testing.
Later that year, the FDA announced measures to attempt to minimize the use of dogs in research, as part of its overall attempts to reduce the use of animal testing.