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About 40,000 dogs, cats, primates, and other animals are confined inside U.S. government labs for wasteful and cruel experimentation every year. Many of these animals die during the testing. Disturbingly, virtually all of the animals who manage to survive these experiments are killed, even when they are healthy enough to live happy lives in loving homes or animal sanctuaries.

You’re probably wondering the obvious question: Why? The frustrating answer is that the labs simply find it more convenient to kill them.

Taxpayers “bought” these survivors. We bankrolled their experiments. So White Coat Waste Project (WCW) launched a historic campaign to make the feds “Give Them Back.”

Congress Steps Up

Lawmakers just re-introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments and Research (AFTER) Act (HR 5244)—also known as Violet’s Law after a sweet hound dog adopted from a taxpayer-funded lab by a WCW board member—to make lab animal adoption an option across the entire federal government.

Until Violet was adopted, she was only known as #CEGMBN – the government ID tattooed in her ear. Like the other dogs in her lab, Violet was bred just to be used for cruel taxpayer-funded experimentation. In her time confined in a lab, Violet had never been outside or felt grass. Thankfully, Violet was given the chance to be adopted into a home where she is now cared for and loved. Unfortunately, most lab animals do not have the same lucky fate. Violet’s Law will help save more animals just like her.

The bipartisan WCW-backed bill is led in the House by Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) and in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Gary Peters (D-MI). If passed, Violet’s Law would ensure all government agencies have policies in place that allow survivors of animal testing inside government labs to be adopted or retired. Rep. Boyle told reporters, “These animals deserve a second chance and the AFTER Act will ensure that federal agencies have plans in place to identify suitable homes for dogs, cats, monkeys, and other animals that survive government experiments.” Rep. Mace stated, “It’s cruel and unnecessary to euthanize dogs, cats, and other animals in federal research labs that are healthy enough to be adopted out and live happy lives.”

violet dog

Photo Courtesy of White Coat Waste Project

In addition to the re-introducing Violet’s Law, Reps. Boyle, Mace, and colleagues championed a life-saving lab animal adoption measure in the federal spending bill for 2022. While some federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, have enacted lab animal retirement policies following WCW efforts, the United States Department of Agriculture is one of the many federal agencies that has refused to create such a policy. Thanks to advocacy from Reps. Boyle and Mace, the House of Representatives passed legislation directing the USDA to create a retirement plan for animals no longer needed in experiments.

The Clock is Ticking for Lab Animal Survivors

The early ending of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ monkey experiments at its Minneapolis lab exemplifies the urgent need to pass Violet’s Law. The Minneapolis VA spent $7 million taxpayer dollars to drill holes into monkeys’ skulls and inject them with hallucinogenic drugs to damage their brains. Fortunately, following pressure from WCW and Congress, these experiments ended early. However, this victory is bittersweet. While no more monkeys will be subjected to this cruel and wasteful experiment, documents obtained by WCW show that the VA refused to retire any of the primates and killed every monkey who survived this abuse. If given a chance, these monkeys could have finally experienced life at a sanctuary outside the metal cages and pain they knew all their lives, like the monkeys WCW saved from $5.5 million nicotine experiments at the FDA. This unfortunate ending at the VA is a perfect example of why we need Violet’s Law in place.

Survivors of animal testing are currently sitting inside federal labs and need our help before it’s too late. Taxpayers bought these animals, and deserve to be allowed to give them a second chance.

Take Action

It is absurd that healthy survivors of wasteful and abusive government animal experiments are killed instead of given the opportunity to be adopted into loving homes or retired to reputable sanctuaries. We need your help to ensure that government agencies have policies that allow animals who survive testing inside federal labs to have the second chance at life they deserve.

Please urge your lawmakers to cosponsor Violet’s Law to make adoption an option across federal animal labs.

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