The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty: Problems and Possibilities in Animal Testing Regulation
55 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2016 Last revised: 11 Oct 2016
Date Written: January 1, 2016
In 1966, lawmakers enacted what was to become the federal Animal Welfare Act with the noble intentions of providing a fundamental groundwork of minimum protections for nonhuman animals used in various contexts, including laboratory testing, the focus of this Article. Over the past fifty years, however, those basic protections have eroded or otherwise proven ineffective. Laboratories operate using different paradigms of welfare, many with inadequate oversight and reporting, and the species comprising over ninety percent of test subjects have been completely written out of the very definition of “animal” in the statute. Scientific and technological advances call into question the necessity of some animal experimentation, and many other countries have moved forward to adapt to these changes in science and increasing public concern. After fifty years of failing to live up to its potential and the promise of its name, it is time for the Animal Welfare Act to change as well.
Keywords: Animal Welfare Act, animal testing
JEL Classification: K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation