Congress Must End Use of Pets in Labs

On January 15, random source Class B dealer Kenneth Schroeder had his license revoked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and can no longer sell dogs and cats to laboratories. USDA filed a complaint in September 2013 alleging that Schroeder “willfully violated the Animal Welfare Act” when he illegally obtained seven dogs, failed to maintain proper housing for animals, and did not give USDA inspectors access to his records and facilities, as required by law. Despite this welcome news, five other random source Class B dealers still operate - collecting dogs and cats from shelters, breeders, and hunters and selling them to labs.

The random source Class B dealer business must end! But, only Congress can make it happen.

While the number of random source dealers has been dwindling, those still in business do so under a cloud of cynicism. The public has long been concerned about pets being used in laboratories. In fact, the story of Pepper, a Dalmatian who was stolen from her family, sold to a lab, and killed during an experiment, spurred the creation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in 1966. As part of the AWA’s legal standards of care and treatment for animals acquired and used in research, testing, and education, the Act is meant to protect lost and stolen pets from being sold to research. Additionally, as stated in a 2009 report from the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), the random source “Class B dealer system does not operate consistently as intended,” particularly with regard to tracebacks (a paper trail documenting the purchase and sale of animals). Considering that the purpose of the AWA is to protect people’s pets, this is especially concerning!

However, the Pet Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 2224) would ban random source dealers and help keep companion dogs and cats safe. Congress must uphold the original intent of the AWA and protect our pets!

Consider the USDA’s complaint against random source Class B dealer James Woudenberg, who was alleged to have obtained four dogs and one cat illegally, but, despite his questionable actions, could not be penalized because the Animal Welfare Act does not ”require dealers to verify the origins of animals that they acquire.” This case highlights the fact that even when the USDA attempts to shut down violators, there are limitations to what can be accomplished without changing the law.

Congress cannot allow random source Class B dealers to operate outside the intent of the law. By supporting the Pet Safety and Protection Act, Congress can end this dirty business.

What You Can Do

Please contact your Representative and ask him/her to cosponsor the Pet Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 2224). Tell him/her that the original intent of the Animal Welfare Act is to protect lost and stolen pets from being sold to research and that random source Class B dealers are not adequately regulated.