Skip to main content
  1. News Release

  2. Feb 21, 2019

New Bill Aims to Shed Light on Animal Research in California

National Physicians Group Praises State Assemblymember Brian Maienschein for Introducing AB 889, the California Transparency in Research Act

SACRAMENTO—A new bill introduced Feb. 20 in the California State Assembly would modernize and expand a statewide system in which some laboratories currently report animal use, according to national nonprofit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is co-sponsoring the bill with Social Compassion in Legislation. AB 889, the California Transparency in Research Act, authored by San Diego Democratic Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, would require reporting of animal numbers, general categories of how animals are used, and what level of pain and distress the animals experienced. The bill would also establish a publicly accessible online database for the reported information.

“Anyone who is serious about conducting research in the name of public health should welcome this legislation,” says toxicologist and Physicians Committee vice president of research policy Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H. “In order to improve science we need to be open and honest about how animals are used.”

According to the Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors--there currently exists no state or federal system for the accurate reporting of the use of animals in laboratories. Estimates range as high as 100 million animals used in U.S. laboratories each year, but less than 10 percent of those animals are covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act and thus reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, in 2017, the USDA shut down its online database without warning, and a significant number of records have yet to be restored.

“It’s time for California to lead the way by letting taxpayers know how many animals are used in labs and for what purpose throughout our state,” says Maienschein.

According to the Physicians Committee, only about one-third (approximately 115 facilities) of the state’s more than 300 animal research facilities currently report information on animal use to the California Department of Public Health under a program established in 1951. Maienschein’s bill would expand coverage to all laboratories that use live animals for research, testing, or the training of scientists or health care providers.

According to Sullivan, the annual form required by Maienschein’s bill will be short and requests information that laboratories easily have at their disposal. In addition, says Sullivan, the bill does not require the reporting of specific information that would be considered proprietary.

“The public has a right to know which kind of animals, how many animals, and what tests are administered on these animals,” says Judie Mancuso, founder and CEO of Social Compassion in Legislation. “Knowledge is power and AB 889 fills the void left by the current reporting requirements.”

For a copy of the bill or to interview Kristie Sullivan, please contact Kenzie Phillips at 202-527-7342 or kphillips@pcrm.org.

Media Contact

Kenzie Phillips

202-527-7342

kphillips@pcrm.org

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

More on Ethical Science