AVMA urges policymakers to preserve biomedical research

ResearchImage_Blog_300x300As veterinarians, we’re passionate about animal health and welfare. Scientific research—including research using animals—is key to improving animal health and welfare, which is why we have reached out to policymakers about the importance of biomedical research. Biomedical research conducted in animals opens doors to medical discoveries that save lives and decrease suffering in animals and humans alike. For instance, animal research is important to finding cures for cancers like osteosarcoma, which impact both humans and animals.

Emotionally evocative campaigns have long been used to oppose the use of animals in biomedical research. More recently, some of the same advocacy groups that are behind these campaigns have suggested that biomedical research is not financially prudent. To set the record straight, the AVMA recently sent letters to key policymakers informing them of the continued importance of animal models for biomedical research.

The letters—which went to the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee—informed policymakers of the many benefits of biomedical research for both animals and humans. The letters also emphasized the AVMA’s ongoing close collaboration with federal agencies to ensure that the welfare of animals used in that research is protected.

Approximately 1,000 veterinarians at research institutions throughout the country are committed to protecting the welfare of animals used for research. Most of these individuals have completed several years of additional training beyond their veterinary degrees to become board-certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and/or the American College of Animal Welfare.

The AVMA encourages researchers to use model systems rather than animals when those alternatives exist. We also believe strongly that we should strive toward a future when computer simulations or tissue grown in labs can be used to produce significant and meaningful advances in health care. But we have not reached that future yet—right now, it is imperative to animal and human health that we continue to pursue biomedical research using animal models.

The AVMA will continue to work with lawmakers to educate them on the importance of biomedical research, including biomedical research that requires the use of animal models. We will also actively work to protect the welfare of the animals used for this research and will encourage the development and use of alternatives whenever possible. You may read our policy on the use of animals in research on our website.

3 thoughts on “AVMA urges policymakers to preserve biomedical research

  1. I understand that there is a significant amount of money in the veterinary profession associated with animal testing, HOWEVER, you minimize the strides science has taken to make animal testing obsolete. Rather than digging in your heals and living in the past, it would be refreshing for such a large organization to say, “we welcome change, because this change aligns more closely with our values, even if it hurts us financially in the short term”. How powerful would it be if those of us trained in animal welfare and compassionate to promoting that welfare, stood behind those values, rather than the source of money? It horrifies me that AVMA would take a stance any different than one that aligns with true animal welfare.

  2. As one of the 1000 veterinarians mentioned in your letter helping to care for animals used in research and teaching, I am proud to stand with the AVMA on this important issue. Your letters to our elected officials and to Dr. Collins were eloquent and informative. Thank you for showing the courage to take a stand on biomedical research, which benefits everyone of us, our pets, and the other animals we depend on.

    • Thank You AVMA for standing strong on this important issue. It is time for all agencies and organizations associated with Biomedical Sciences to advocate for humane and responsible research. The AVMA should lead the charge in promoting the benefits of animal based research and ASLAP, ACLAM and AALAS should join efforts to provide education, training and increased advocacy to the general public. Long Overdue!