Washington Update

FASEB Issues Statement on Animal Adoption

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
On September 6, FASEB issued a statement regarding the adoption and retirement of research animals following the completion of research studies. The statement builds on FASEB’s support for the humane use of laboratory animals in biomedical research and addresses the importance of appropriate animal accommodation if adoption is a feasible, safe option for both the humans and animals involved.

In its statement, FASEB encourages stakeholders to consider various factors when preparing adoption policies and to define eligibility for research animal adoption. Consistent with the guidelines promulgated by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, this includes approval by the institutional attending veterinarian to determine the animal’s health condition, ability to travel, and potential risk to humans. The FASEB statement emphasizes that adoption may not be appropriate for all species due to certain health conditions, and considerations such as how a new environment will affect animal welfare should be prioritized. Moreover, it is paramount that recipients of adopted animals maintain compliance with current federal, state, and local laws, including the Animal Welfare Act.

Recognizing Congress’ recent proposals to mandate post-research adoption at federal agencies, the statement clarifies that current legislative plans do not account for the significant financial, administrative, and public health elements associated with animal adoption and retirement, including transport fees and specialized housing. FASEB underscores how new policy and legislative proposals concerning this issue must consider all veterinary, financial, and logistical factors to prioritize the safety and well-being of animals and humans.