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    New Animal Regulations Threatening SCI Research

    The Society for Neuroscience recently sent the attached email to their membership. Although it may seem somewhat trivial, there is a new amendment proposed by Senator Jesse Helms that needs your support. He has proposed an amendment to the current Farm Bill that would continue the exclusion of rodents and birds from the Animal Welfare Act of 1987. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) regulates use of animals in research. The USDA has proposed a change in the coverage of the Animal Welfare Act. Previously, the Animal Welfare Act covered only animals higher than rodents (rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys, etc.). They are on the verge of changing the coverage to include rodents and birds.

    The USDA has also recently implemented another regulatory change and proposed a third change, both of which are likely to impose significant administrative and cost burdens on researchers without improving animal care or welfare. There is a potential that some of these regulatory changes may lead to eventual prohibition of spinal cord injury experiments in rodents altogether. Let me describe these changes and their potential impact on spinal cord injury research:

    1. Posting of Animal Facilities Site Visit Reports. The USDA is now posting all reports of regulatory deviations found on animal facility site visits on a public government web site. Most facilities get two UDSA site visits a year. These reports name investigators and provide details of the facility, including room numbers and other security information. Please note that as many so-called deviations from regulations may be mistakes by inspectors or involve trivial problems that are often reversed on appeal or review. Although they recognize this possibility, the USDA decided that they would not only post the raw inspection reports with names and security-threatening information but will not correct them even if the deviations are not true. This is problematical not only because it is providing animal liberationists ammunition to charge that animal facilities are not taking care of animals but exposes animal facilities (at universities and pharmaceutical companies) to significant security risks by publicizing animals, locations, and procedurs that are being carried out. The USDA has already started this practice. There is no appeal. Please note that this practice is not being used for any other federal agency. For example, when the FAA inspects airplanes or airports, they do not post the inspection reports on a public web site. This is also not done with food inspections. When reports are posted, it is usually after appeals and security information is didacted from such reports. Animal liberation groups are already attacking dozens of animal facilities every year around the United States. This practice by the USDA will not only foster and encourage terrorist attacks on the animal facilities (I don't use this word lightly because I consider people who attack and trash research facilitiest to be terrorists) but will provide them with detailed information on how and when to do it.

    2. Extending the Animal Welfare Act to cover rodent and bird research. The USDA has proposed that rodents and birds be covered by the Animal Welfare Act. This act already imposes stringent and, in my opinion, occasionally unnecessarily rigid standards for animal use and care on all vertebrate animals higher than rodents (i.e. rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys, etc.). For example, the Act forbids keeping two species of animals in the same room (apparently because they consider two species of animals seeing each other to be cruel and unusual punishment) and that all animal rooms and procedural facilities be ventilated with 100% fresh air at 15 room air-changes per hour. For those of you who have visited pet stores or farms where multiple species are often kept in the same areas, you know that these requirements are not being imposed on anybody else but researchers. Actually, the NIH already requires that rodent research funded by NIH meet the standards of the Animal Welfare Act. Our research budgets have already paid the price for upgrading ventilatory systems and adding rooms to animal facilities to hold single species. However, if rodents were included in the Animal Welfare Act, it will add a huge administrative burden on animal facilities to document adherence to regulation for rodent facilities. The Society for Neuroscience estimates that it will add $80-$280 million to the cost of doing rodent research in the United States. These costs will passed onto research budgets. For example, in most facilities, it costs 50 cents a day to keep a rat... I expect that these costs will double for any laboratory doing chronic spinal cord injury research. Senator Helms has proposed an amendment that would keep the USDA from doing this but there has been almost no public awareness or support of this legislation. If the USDA gets its way in forcing rodents to be covered by the Animal Welfare Act, I believe that animal care costs for rodent spinal cord injury is likely to double and our field may spend an additional $5-10 million (5-10%) for animal research, particularly chronic spinal cord injury studies. This will be one more reason for researchers to do fewer chronic spinal cord injury studies.

    3. Redefining pain and suffering. The USDA has proposed that the category of pain and suffering be redefined to include animals that are anesthetized. This regulatory change, again promoted by animal liberation groups, targets all animal research that involves surgery. I believe that it is a precursor to future regulations that may forbid all experiments that cause pain and suffering to animals. Let me describe some potential effects that this change of regulations may have on spinal cord injury research. If animals are considered to be undergoing pain and suffering, a government administrator can easily come out with the judgement that such research should be forbidden or restricted. Thus, in one fell swoop, all research involving anesthesia and surgery can be stopped without legislative or judicial review. I don't think that I am exaggerating this danger. All it takes in an administration that appoints a USDA secretary who is sympathetic to the animal rights cause. Such an administrator could essentially stop all spinal cord injury research. Lest you think that this cannot happen, let me tell you that it has already happened in Great Britain where all research that causes paraplegia in rats is now forbidden. That is the main reason why the researchers in Britain and several other countries currently do studies only with hemisections and partial spinal cord lesions.

    I know that many people on these forums have ranted against animal research, believing that treatments should be taken directly to human clinical trial. It is unfortunate because I think that the spinal cord injury community need to understand that we would have no treatments at all to take to clinical trials if not for animal studies, that animal studies improve the likelihood that the treatments will work, and that the cure will never come if animal research is stopped.

    Wise.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 15:15:56 -0500
    From: The Society for Neuroscience To: US Members of the Society for Neuroscience Subject: Legislative Alert: Contact Your Senators Regarding Rats, Mice, and Birds Reply-To: sfn@sfn.org

    **********************Immediate Action Requested**************************
    PLEASE CONTACT YOUR TWO SENATORS, REGARDING POTENTIAL NEW REGULATION OF RATS, MICE, AND BIRDS
    ************************************************** ************************

    BACKGROUND:

    The U.S. Senate is expected to begin consideration of legislation (the Farm Bill) which will include possible amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) has drafted an amendment that would change the definition of "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to *exclude* rats, mice and birds. Please contact your two U.S. Senators now and urge them to support the Helms amendment on rats, mice and birds.

    USDA regulations currently exclude rats, mice and birds from the definition of "animal", which means that these species are not regulated by USDA; although, they **are already regulated** by PHS, and AAALAC-accredited institutions. The NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and the Food and Drug Administration already regulate a large majority of rats, mice, and birds in research.

    However, in response to a settlement with an animal rights group, USDA is expected to issue a proposed rule changing the definition of "animal" in the AWA to include rats, mice and birds. Including these species in this definition will subject researchers to costly, duplicative, and burdensome new regulations that will do nothing to enhance the care and treatment of laboratory animals.

    ************************************************** *******************
    HOW TO CONTACT YOUR SENATOR:

    Please visit the Senate's Web page at
    http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm and locate the two Senators who represent your state.

    If you prefer to call your elected officials rather than write a letter, dial (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator's office. Once in touch with the proper office, tell the person who answers the phone that you would like the Senator to support the Helms amendment to the Farm Bill, which excludes rats, mice, and birds in the definition of an "animal".

    DRAFT LETTERS ARE PROVIDED BELOW if you would prefer to send a letter. Addresses are also provided below. Please do not send emails to the congressional office. These offices have been overwhelmed by emails and many offices are no longer responding to letters sent by email. If you have limited time, please take a few minutes to call the offices and ask for a written response.

    We ask that you notify the Society Central Office of your communication. You may send an e-mail to Allison Wainick, GPA Manager, (allisonw@sfn.org) to let her know you have placed a call or sent a letter. You may also send a copy of your letter via mail to Allison at: Society for Neuroscience, 11 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C., 20036.
    ************************************************** *********************

    TALKING POINTS/REASONS FOR PROHIBITING THE USDA FROM REGULATING RATS, MICE, AND BIRDS USED IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH:

    --A permanent change in the statutory definition of animal to exclude rats, mice and birds would simply maintain the status quo and allow researchers to continue following the existing regulatory requirements for the use of animals in biomedical research.


    --The NIH Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare and the Food and Drug Administration are already regulating the vast majority - 90% or more - of the rats, mice and birds used in biomedical research. Additionally, AAALAC-accredited institutions operate under strict animal care guidelines for these species. There is no need for USDA to duplicate existing oversight.

    --If USDA were to expand its regulations to cover rats, mice and birds, the result would be a greatly increased regulatory burden on researchers and an increase in the cost of medical research. It is estimated that the additional recordkeeping, reporting and red tape could cost $80 to $280 million per year, and this burden would not improve animal welfare at all because staff would spend more time on paperwork and less time on animal care.

    --USDA is finalizing its highly controversial new rules that would impose additional regulatory requirements regarding pain and distress of research animals. The inclusion of rats, mice and birds within the AWA, coupled with new pain and distress rules, will cripple important medical research projects across the country.
    ************************************************** *******************

    SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR SENATOR ABOUT EXCLUDING RATS, MICE, AND BIRDS


    Dear Senator X:

    I am writing to ask that you support Sen. Jesse Helms' amendment to the Farm bill that would change the definition of "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to exclude rats, mice and birds. As a researcher I am opposed to changing the current policy, which has existed for nearly 30 years, because this change will result in costly, duplicative, and burdensome new regulations that will do little or nothing to enhance the care and treatment of laboratory animals.

    ADD SOME INFORMATION HERE TO PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGE. For example, the research that I conduct or support in my lab would be affected adversely because...

    The vast majority, 90 percent or more, of rats, mice and birds used in medical research are already sufficiently covered by the NIH Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare guidelines or the Food and Drug Administration animal care requirements. Additionally, institutions that are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care
    International (AAALAC) operate under strict animal care guidelines.

    A permanent change in the statutory definition of "animal" to exclude rats, mice and birds would simply codify into law the existing regulatory requirements for the use of animals in biomedical research. Changing the current requirements by subjecting these species to USDA regulations will greatly increase the regulatory burden on researchers and increase the cost of biomedical research. It is estimated that the additional recordkeeping, reporting and red tape could cost $80 to $280 million per year, and this burden would not improve animal welfare but instead would dramatically increase the time that staff spends on paperwork and less time on animal care.

    Again, I urge you to support the Helms amendment. Thank you for considering my views. If you have any questions, or if I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Sincerely,
    [Your Name]
    [This message was edited by Wise Young on February 10, 2002 at 03:15 AM.]

    #2
    Easy Work!

    I just copied and pasted the sample letter into Microsoft Word. Total time: 20 seconds.

    I figure I can produce 2 letters to my Senators in 15 minutes (including personalizing the letter) at a total cost of 80 cents including postage and envelopes.

    Anybody else have 15 minutes and 80 cents?

    A few months ago, I wrote PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and they mailed me info on their position regarding animal experimentation. Their position appears to be zero tolerance for animal experimentation. Zip. None. No exceptions. They are determined that this will happen. They are clearly on the brink of succeeding.

    If that is your position, too, then sit back and do nothing, otherwise, PLEASE SEND THE LETTERS.

    Calico

    Comment


      #3
      Calico

      Good point.

      C'mon everyone. Another crucial step / issue for us.

      Do it now, today, please.

      You can make a difference.

      Comment


        #4
        Sheesh - what next - and from good ole Jesse no less! Isn't he retiring soon? Can we stall it til he goes away? I think someone should ask him when he was at his last pig roast - or the last time he went duck hunting on the outer banks!

        _____________
        Tough times don't last - tough people do.
        _____________

        Comment


          #5
          use e-mail, not snail-mail

          The web page for my rep states that they haven't accepted physical letters since anthrax was found in October. E-mail will get through.

          Comment


            #6
            PETA doesn't want us to even step on a cockroach in our home. [img]/forum/images/smilies/mad.gif[/img]

            Animal experimintation isn't pleasant, but some of those opposing it might be dead if not for animal experiments in the past.

            Note that if you copy & paste this letter, it needs to be re-worded because we're not researchers. [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

            ~Rus

            "Life's a bitch, but I love her."

            Comment


              #7
              Near as I can tell the amendment passed, if so good work folks. Our rats are safe, should sound funny but isn't. Here are some links for someone to check out who may understand that maze. It looks like it is in final conference and Helm's is on the committee.

              http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquer...=m&#amendments

              http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:H.R.2646:

              Leo
              http://justadollarplease.org/

              2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

              "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

              .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."

              Comment


                #8
                hey peep, what happen to look at the bright side...don't worry, be happy.

                if doing research on animals will get harder, then maybe now researchers can turn their attention on us, people. i dont know about you guys, but i am sick and tired of hearing about all the rats being cured.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Leo, thanks. You are right. The Farm Bill passed. The amendment was in it. It is good news.

                  DA, I think that exactly the opposite will happen. If animal research costs go up by 10%, that means there will be 10% less animal research done. There will not be more clinical trials. It is likely that there will be less clinical trials. It will take 10% longer for treatments to get to clinical trial, 10% more money to get the treatments to clinical trial, and 10% more expensive therapies.

                  Wise.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Farm Bill not yet passed

                    I was mistakened, unfortunately. Although the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill with Senator Helms amendment that would *prevent* the inclusion of rodents and birds to the Animal Welfare Act, apparently that amendment is being threatened during the negotiations in the Conference Committee that is reconciling the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. Here is a recent mailing that I received from the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR)

                    Vol. XXIV, No. 3
                    February 25, 2002

                    CONTACT CONFERENCE COMMITTEE TO RETAIN
                    RATS, MICE AND BIRDS EXCLUSION IN FINAL FARM BILL

                    A committee of House and Senate conferees is negotiating differences in the House and Senate versions of the omnibus Farm Bill (FB). The FB contains language amending the Animal Welfare Act to exclude laboratory rats, mice and birds from the definition of "animal." The Farm bill amendment was offered by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), a long-time supporter of biomedical research. (NABR UPDATE, Vol. XXIII, No. 3.) As the Farm Bill's final version is debated, and animal activist pressure escalates, it is imperative that the research community contact the House and Senate conferees today, and ask that they support the rats, mice and birds exclusion.

                    NABR is opposed to including rats, mice and birds in the AWA because this change will subject researchers to costly, duplicative, and burdensome new regulations that would do nothing to enhance the care and treatment of laboratory animals. For an outline of NABR's rationale for prohibiting USDA from regulating rats, mice and birds used in biomedical research, please refer to NABR ALERT, Vol. XXIV, No. 1.

                    For your convenience, two form letters - one for the Senate and one for the House, are included with this ALERT, and can be personalized and faxed directly to the conferees by using the new "Contacting Congress" section of the NABR "Members Only" website. Go to the "Members Only" section of the NABR website (www.nabr.org), click on "Contacting Congress," and then choose "Action Alert." A letter for each of the 20 conferees will be appear, the text of which is below. If you click on the "Fax" option, the letters will be automatically faxed to the Senate and House conferees free of charge. We encourage NABR members to personalize these letter and, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

                    SENATE LETTERS

                    The Senate Conferees are: Tom Harkin (D-IA); Thad Cochran (R-MS); Kent Conrad (D-ND); Tom Daschle (D-SD); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Richard Lugar (R-IN); and Jesse Helms (R-NC). These Senators should receive the following letter -

                    The Honorable _________________
                    United States Senate
                    Washington, DC 20510

                    Dear Senator __________________:

                    Thank you for adopting the amendment to the "Farm Bill" which would exclude rats, mice and birds from the definition of "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act. This important provision would prevent the implementation of additional burdensome paperwork requirements at the nation's biomedical research facilities, and would do nothing to enhance the care and treatment of laboratory rodents and birds.

                    ADD SOME INFORMATION HERE TO PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGE. For example: The research that I conduct or support in my lab would be affected adversely because...

                    Currently, the NIH Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare and the Food and Drug Administration oversees the vast majority - 90% or more - of the rats, mice and birds used in biomedical research. A permanent change in the statutory definition of animal to exclude rats, mice and birds would simply codify existing administrative policy. If the USDA were to expand its regulations to cover rats, mice and birds, the result would be a greatly increased regulatory burden and costs. It is estimated that the additional recordkeeping, reporting and red tape could cost $80 to $280 million per year, and this burden would not affect animal care but, rather, would increase staff to fulfill paperwork requirements.

                    Additionally, the regulatory burden will be increased exponentially if USDA finalizes its highly controversial new rules imposing additional reporting requirements regarding pain and distress of research animals. The inclusion of rats, mice and birds within the AWA, coupled with new pain and distress rules, will undoubtedly cripple important medical research projects across the country.

                    Thank you, again, for recognizing the biomedical research community's concerns on this matter, and I respectfully request that you preserve this important provision in the final version of the Farm Bill. If you have any questions, or if I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

                    Sincerely,
                    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX

                    HOUSE LETTER

                    The House conferees are: John Boehner (R-OH); Larry Combest (R-TX); Saxby Chambliss (R-GA); Gary Condit (D-CA); Calvin Dooley (D-CA); Terry Everett (R-AL); Bob Goodlatte (R-VA); Tim Holden (D-PA); Ken Lucas (D-KY); Jerry Moran (R-KS); Collin Peterson (D-MN); Richard Pombo (R-CA); and Charles Stenholm (D-TX). These representatives should receive the following letter --

                    The Honorable _______________________
                    U.S. House of Representatives
                    Washington, DC 20515

                    Dear Representative ____________________

                    I am writing to respectfully request that you accept the language included in the Senate version of the "Farm Bill" to exclude rats, mice and birds from the definition of "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act. This provision would prevent the implementation of additional, burdensome paperwork requirements at the nation's biomedical research facilities, and would do nothing to enhance the care and treatment of laboratory animals.

                    (Use same text of the letter to Senate Conferees)

                    Sincerely,

                    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


                    ###

                    Comment


                      #11
                      RTR

                      I agree about the snail mail problem but faxes are better than email, I think. But doing both is the best of all.

                      ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
                      ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Dr Young, This should make you Chuckle

                        http://www.comics.com/creators/wizar...2914080221.gif


                        [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img] [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/forum/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img]

                        Comment


                          #13
                          THC, that cartoon is funny. Wise.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Here is something from Americans for Medical Progress (AMP):

                            As we reported Friday, a congressional conference committee is meeting in regards to this year's Farm Bill. It may chose to include in the final legislation an amendment that has already been passed by the Senate to codify the current administrative exclusion of rats, mice and birds from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

                            PERSONAL MESSAGES TO THE CONGRESSIONAL CONFEREES ARE NEEDED IMMEDIATELY TO ENCOURAGE ADOPTION OF THIS AMENDMENT. Animal rights activists have already sent out alerts and are flooding key conferees offices with messages in opposition.

                            Following is a well-crafted legislative alert by the American Physiological Society (APS) that will be sent out to all members of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) today. APS and FASEB have graciously allowed other biomedical research and advocacy organizations to circulate this alert in order to reach as many in the research community as possible, as quickly as possible.

                            The APS/FASEB alert below contains the contacts, key language, strategy and background information you will need to weigh in on this vital matter.

                            AMP News Service / Americans for Medical Progress 908 King Street #201
                            Alexandria VA 22314
                            703 836 9595
                            fax 703 836 9594
                            amp@amprogress.org
                            http://www.amprogress.org

                            ================================================== ================

                            AVOIDING REDUNDANT OVERSIGHT OF RATS, MICE, AND BIRDS: YOUR HELP IS NEEDED TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

                            OVERVIEW: On February 12 the Senate adopted an amendment to the farm bill that would permanently exclude rats, mice, and birds from the regulatory provisions of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The amendment, offered by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), would write into law the administrative exclusion of these species from the AWA that has been in place for 30 years. The amendment was adopted in the Senate by unanimous consent. The farm bill is now pending before a House-Senate conference, which must decide whether to include the Helms language in the final version of the bill.

                            The Helms amendment is needed to clarify once and for all that the USDA should not regulate rats, mice, and birds. If this legislation is not approved, the USDA will issue a proposed rule later this year bringing these species under the AWA. The USDA must issue this proposal to comply with the agreement it reached with animal activist plaintiffs in September 2000 in an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit over the USDA's past exclusion of rats, mice, and birds from the AWA.

                            Your help is needed to make sure the Helms amendment becomes law. Animal rights activists are flooding congressional offices with phone calls asking the conferees to drop the Helms amendment.

                            If you need further information about this issue, see below under "ISSUE BACKGROUND." If you are ready to begin, just follow the plan of action below.

                            ----

                            WHAT TO DO:

                            AUDIENCE: The first priority is for constituents to write to conferees from their home states. THE VOICE OF THE VOTER DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. This email message includes a list of conferees and their fax numbers. The mail on Capitol Hill is still disrupted due to anthrax so please fax your letters.

                            IF YOU LIVE IN THE FOLLOWING STATES, PLEASE ACT IMMEDIATELY:

                            ALABAMA
                            CALIFORNIA
                            GEORGIA
                            INDIANA*
                            IOWA*
                            KANSAS
                            MINNESOTA
                            MISSISSIPPI
                            NORTH CAROLINA
                            NORTH DAKOTA
                            OHIO
                            OKLAHOMA
                            PENNSYLVANIA
                            SOUTH DAKOTA
                            TEXAS*
                            VERMONT*
                            VIRGINIA

                            *We are placing special emphasis on conferees from these states.

                            If none of the conferees are from your state, write letters to Sen. Harkin and Rep. Combest because they are the Chairs of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees. Fax those letters to your own Representative and Senators with a cover note asking them to tell the conferees to include language in the farm bill to codify the existing administrative exclusion of rats, mice, and birds from the Animal Welfare Act. (To find the names and fax numbers of your Members, go to the C-Span website at http://capwiz.com/c-span/home/.)

                            We also want to demonstrate the research community's support for the Helms amendment to Sen. Richard Lugar, Sen. Patrick Leahy, and Rep. Charles Stenholm.

                            ----

                            MESSAGE: Use the sample letter provided below, adding the appropriate introductory paragraph for a Senator or Representative. Be sure to include your home address. Members of Congress are deluged with email, form letters, and phone calls from advocacy groups. The single most effective way to be heard above the other "noise" is a personal note, handwritten if possible. Alternatively, you can cut and paste the text below into your word processor.

                            Make your letters direct and personal. Animal activists want the conferees to delete the Helms amendment. We have to present our views with dignity and commitment. The critical sentence is the closing line: "Please make sure that the final version of the farm bill includes the Helms amendment to make permanent the exclusion of rats, mice, and birds from the Animal Welfare Act."

                            ----

                            TIMING IS EVERYTHING: The farm bill conference is already underway, and the staff is working through the issues. It is impossible to predict when the Helms amendment will be brought up. Please fax your letters IMMEDIATELY. In addition, ask your institution to contact your state's congressional delegation in support of the Helms amendment.

                            ----

                            SENATE CONFEREES: Use the salutation "Dear Senator ________:" unless another salutation is specified below. The opening sentence for letters to Senate conferees is:

                            "Thank you for including language in the farm bill to exclude rats, mice and birds permanently from the Animal Welfare Act." [The rest of the message is below.]

                            SENATE DEMOCRATS (majority)

                            The Hon. Tom Harkin (Chairman, Senate Agriculture Committee) Home state: Iowa
                            Fax: 202-224-9369
                            Special salutation: "Dear Mr. Chairman:"

                            The Hon. Patrick Leahy
                            Home state: Vermont
                            Fax: 202-224-3479

                            The Hon. Kent Conrad
                            Home state: North Dakota
                            Fax: 202-224-7776

                            The Hon. Thomas Daschle (Senate Majority Leader) Home state: South Dakota
                            Fax: 202-224-7895
                            Special salutation: "Dear Mr. Majority Leader:"

                            SENATE REPUBLICANS (minority)

                            The Hon. Richard Lugar (Ranking Member, Senate Agriculture Committee) Home state: Indiana
                            Fax: 202-228-0360

                            The Hon. Jesse Helms
                            Home state: North Carolina
                            Fax: 202-228-1339
                            NOTE: Be sure to thank Sen. Helms for sponsoring this amendment.

                            The Hon. Thad Cochran
                            Home state: Mississippi
                            Fax: 202-224-9450

                            ----

                            HOUSE CONFEREES: Use the salutation "Dear Representative ____________:" unless another salutation is specified below. The opening sentence for letters to House conferees is:

                            "Please recede to the Senate on the Helms amendment and include language in the farm bill that will permanently exclude rats, mice and birds from the Animal Welfare Act." [The rest of the message is below.]

                            HOUSE REPUBLICANS (majority)

                            The Hon. Larry Combest (Chairman, House Agriculture Committee) Home state: Texas. District offices in Lubbock, Amarillo, Odessa Fax number: 202-225-3317
                            Special salutation: "Dear Mr. Chairman:"

                            The Hon. John A. Boehner
                            Home state: Ohio. District offices in Hamilton, Troy Fax number: 202-225-0704

                            The Hon. Bob Goodlatte
                            Home state: Virginia. District offices in Roanoke, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg Fax number: 202-225-9681

                            The Hon. Richard Pombo
                            Home state: California. District office in Stockton Fax number: 202-226-0861

                            The Hon. Terry Everett
                            Home state: Alabama. District offices in Dothan, Montgomery, Opp Fax number: 202-225-8913

                            The Hon. Frank Lucas
                            Home state: Oklahoma. District offices in Oklahoma City, Woodward, Enid, Clinton Fax number: (202) 225-8698

                            The Hon. Saxby Chambliss
                            Home state: Georgia. District offices in Macon, Waycross Fax number: 202-225-3013

                            The Hon. Jerry Moran
                            Home state: Kansas District offices in Hutchinson, Hays Fax number: 202-225-5124

                            HOUSE DEMOCRATS (minority)

                            The Hon. Charles Stenholm (Ranking Member, House Agriculture Committee) Home state: Texas. District offices in Abilene, San Angelo, Stamford Fax number: 202-225-2234

                            The Hon. Gary Condit
                            Home state: California. District offices in Modesto, Merced Fax number: 202-225-0819

                            The Hon. Colin Peterson
                            Home state: Minnesota. District offices in Detroit Lakes, Waite Park, Red Lake Falls Fax number: 202-225-1593

                            The Hon. Calvin Dooley
                            Home state: California. District office in Fresno Fax number: 202-225-9308

                            The Hon. Eva Clayton
                            Home state: North Carolina. District offices in Norlina and Greenville Fax number: 202-225-3354

                            The Hon. Tim Holden
                            Home state: Pennsylvania. District offices in Pottsville, Reading Fax number: 202-226-0996

                            ----

                            MESSAGE TO ALL CONFEREES: Start with the appropriate opening sentence for House or Senate conferees. The rest of the message is as follows:

                            I am a research scientist whose work requires animals. I treat my animals humanely both for ethical and scientific reasons. In addition, the National Institutes of Health, which funds my research, requires me to take good care of my animals. If I treat my animals badly, my institution will stop my research. If we don't follow the NIH's animal care guidelines we will lose our government funding.

                            Rats, mice, and birds have never been part of the Animal Welfare Act. We already have good safeguards in place without it. Adding new rules from the USDA won't improve how we take care of the animals, but it will take time and money away from medical research.

                            Please make sure that the final version of the farm bill includes the Helms amendment to make permanent the exclusion of rats, mice, and birds from the Animal Welfare Act.

                            Sincerely,

                            [Include your name and home address]

                            ---

                            ISSUE BACKGROUND: The "Laboratory Animal Welfare Act," as it was originally known, was passed in 1966 to prevent stolen pets from ending up in research labs and to provide for the humane care of dogs and cats in medical research. The law was amended in 1971, and other species were added. More species were later added administratively. Purpose-bred rats and mice have always been excluded.

                            It has long been a goal of animal activists to extend USDA regulations to rats, mice, and birds. Researchers support animal welfare but believe that existing oversight already assures high quality animal care. Since the vast majority of these species used in research fall within the other existing oversight systems including the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Animals, AAALAC accreditation, and the FDA's Good Laboratory Practices Act standards, USDA regulation would increase paperwork burdens and administrative effort without enhancing animal welfare.

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                              #15
                              I have been told by several experienced people that email is fine for lobbying. It counts as much as a fax. Wise.

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