BREAKING NEWS: A Washington, D.C. federal judge ruled in our favor in our case against NIH to close the Foreign Animal Lab Loophole on behalf of our client, the White Coat Waste Project. You can read the opinion here.
To understand the case, here's what you need to know: the federal government hands out $20 billion in subsidies every year to animal experimenters in the United States and abroad. Federal law is clear: any lab conducting experiments on animals using tax dollars must have an animal care committee. These committees are essential in monitoring animal welfare and reporting to NIH.
But NIH issued an illegal regulation, exempting foreign animal labs receiving our taxpayer dollars from this requirement. We're calling this the Foreign Animal Lab Loophole, and it's illegal. An agency cannot contradict a federal law. On top of harming animals, the Foreign Animal Lab Loophole creates an information blackout, since foreign animal labs are excused from maintaining the animal care committees that report to the government. This means taxpayers, animal advocates, and the public can't access documents about what they're paying for, or gain information about the use and welfare of animals held with taxpayer money. Now that you know the basics of the case, here's what happened. After we sued NIH, it filed a motion to dismiss our case, claiming our lawsuit was legally deficient on multiple grounds. We filed extensive legal briefing opposing this baseless motion. The judge agreed with us and denied NIH's motion, green-lighting our case.
We look forward to continuing this important legal battle. We're confident we can knock out this illegal regulation, because we've done it before. ICYMI, we sued USDA over illegal regulations weakening enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. Our landmark settlement, featured by Science Magazine, exposed these hidden regulations, plugged loopholes that hurt animals, and increased transparency of facilities in violation of federal laws.