The overall landscape of animal law might be changed in large and small ways by a variety of actions that occur regularly at the federal level. Not all such changes would have a direct impact on the NABR membership or their work. Entertainment, exhibition or food animal welfare; animal fighting; wildlife management; endangered species protection and pet industry issues among others are not central concerns for NABR. NABR closely monitors those federal activities that could affect biomedical research institutions and how animals are involved in research, education and safety assessment tests. However, while biomedical research is its primary interest, NABR does take note of federal actions in other areas that may produce significant change in animal related laws. Emerging legal trends may well influence how scientific research is conducted in the future.
Please use the menu on the right to explore the following federal matters:
Federal Legislation – Bills are introduced in every U.S. Congress seeking to expand the scope of animal law. As a result of the lobbying efforts of animal activists, this kind of legislation has become much more frequent. Most proposals of interest to NABR are amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), but occasionally there are legislative initiatives dealing with other federal programs, such as the use of alternatives to animal research and testing methods or restrictions on federal funding of research involving animals.
Proposed Federal Regulations & Final Rules – The federal agency rules governing the care and use of laboratory animals are extensive. At any given time, possible revisions to those regulations are being considered. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the most active source of proposals to update AWA implementing regulations. Other changes may also be proposed by the many other federal agencies that play a role in overseeing research animal care and use. In addition, federal regulators rely on a number of important guidance documents that are updated periodically, in particular based on scientific progress. The text of recent final rulemaking actions of most significance to NABR are available here.
Federal Lawsuits — Attorneys specializing in animal issues and the legal departments of several extremely well financed animal activist organizations increasingly are using the federal court system to challenge existing laws. NABR is most concerned with suits related to the AWA and the general concept of legal standing to sue the government or others in the name of animals.
Please see the “Research Animal Protection” section for a review of current laws and regulations and the various federal agencies that are involved. For an overview of the next layer of animal law, please refer to the “State” section.