These days, we are bombarded hourly with controversial issues in national politics – and it’s hard to keep up with all of them.
Still, if you care about the well-being of animals, or you care about how at least $12 billion of our tax dollars are spent, there is one issue that deserves your attention: federal government agencies are failing animals – and failing all of us as citizens and taxpayers – by failing to make available information that is required under the Animal Welfare Act.
The good news is that there is strong bipartisan support for requiring greater transparency in animal welfare reporting from the US Department of Agriculture and other federal government agencies.
A main focus of the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund is promoting animal rescue – and of course, there can be no rescue without access to information about which animals need help.
Through this Fund, therefore, I am proud to support three organizations that are taking bold action this month to improve federal agency reporting on animals in labs and other institutions covered under the Animal Welfare Act.
The Fund has just begun supporting the new White Coat Waste Project, whose mission is to cut government spending that hurts animals and taxpayers. On February 2, White Coat Waste worked with a bipartisan Congressional coalition led by Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA) to introduce the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act (HR 816). The FACT Act requires the EPA, FDA, NIH, DOD, USDA and other federal agencies to report the number of animals used in toxicity testing, as well as their species and what tests they were used for.
The Fund also provides substantial support to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which were among Greg’s favorite organizations in life. Today, February 13, PETA and PCRM were among six plaintiffs to file a lawsuit in federal court, calling for reversal of the USDA’s February 3 shutdown of its public animal welfare database. Science Magazine’s report about the lawsuit can be found here, and the full legal document here.