Washington Update

FASEB Urges EPA to Discontinue 2019 Directive

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Thursday, May 6, 2021

On May 4, FASEB submitted a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, urging the agency’s continued support for animal research in toxicological studies.

The letter outlines the important contributions of animal research in developing safe products and pharmaceuticals that enhance the quality of life for humans and animals alike. Accordingly, FASEB encouraged the EPA to discontinue implementation of the 2019 directive seeking to significantly reduce animal research conducted at the agency. Instituted by former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the directive established the agency’s commitment to reduce mammalian studies by 30 percent by 2025 and complete elimination of all animal studies by 2035. Shortly after the announcement, FASEB issued a statement against the mandate.

While non-animal alternatives are rapidly evolving, FASEB’s letter emphasizes how these models remain inadequate in replicating complete physiological responses necessary to understand and develop treatments for diseases that impact human health, including embryonic development and immunity. Furthermore, it highlights how the 2019 directive is inconsistent with Administrator Regan’s stated commitment to restore scientific integrity in policy development. Utilizing the best available science is essential for informing EPA’s decision-making process and scientific progress. This includes animal research.

The letter coincides with FASEB’s letters submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies earlier this year, urging sustained support for large animal translational research as the new Administration and Congress prepare and implement their respective goals. To learn more about the role of animals in sustaining biomedical research progress, visit FASEB’s resources.