Louisville, KY – Today Animal Wellness Action announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., in his bid for a third U.S. Senate term, highlighting his leadership in introducing the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 and shepherding S. 5002 to passage in the Senate. Paul’s bill, introduced with Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., also includes a second measure, the Reducing Animal Testing Act, that would further accelerate the use of alternatives to the use of animals in safety and efficacy screening.
S. 5002 passed unanimously on September 29th, just shy of a year before Paul and Booker introduced their original FDA Modernization Act, S. 2952, to eliminate a federal mandate for animal testing for all new drug development as overseen by FDA. Their revised measure, S. 5002, included the FDA Modernization Act and also the Reducing Animal Testing Act, originally introduced by Senator Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., to eliminate a Public Health Service requirement for animal testing for biosimilar drugs.
“Senator Paul’s legislation to eliminate a federal mandate for animal testing for all new drugs has, in the years ahead, the potential to spare millions of animals the pain and death that inevitably come with laboratory use,” said Wayne Pacelle, president at Animal Wellness Action. “If enacted, the new policy will also usher in a new era of less expensive, more reliable 21st-century drugs that do not rely on the use of animals and that will produce better outcomes for patients – the very purpose of the preclinical testing protocols.”
The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 eliminates a decades-old statutory mandate for animal testing in drug development that claims the lives of as many as 59,000 beagles, 68,000 primates, and more than a million other animals. This mass loss of life, preceded by pain and torment for these hapless animals, comes without much of any benefit to human health. Between 90 and 95 percent of drugs found safe in nonclinical tests fail during human clinical trials. Adverse reactions to drugs are the nation’s fourth leading cause of death.
“In working to reboot our nation’s drug development paradigm, Rand Paul has blended three passions: a moral concern for animal welfare, a physician’s understanding of human biology and well-being, and a zest for eliminating archaic government rules,” said John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods Market and its recently retired CEO. “I’ve long been a fan of Rand Paul but have never prouder to see him in action to help animals and deliver better, safer drugs to patients in need.” Mackey is an advisor to Animal Wellness Action.
“Human-relevant cell-based assays, organs-on-a-chip, human-on-a-chip models, and sophisticated computer modeling are far superior to animal tests in predicting human responses to drugs,” noted Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action and a former senior policy staffer for retired Kentucky Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield. “In-vitro testing methods are 1.5- to 30-times less expensive than animal tests, and their use could bring new drugs to market in half the time.”
Paul has also teamed up with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to promote the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming (OFF) Act. The USDA has long been under fire for not carefully stewarding Commodity Checkoff Programs, allowing some agriculture trade groups to divert farmers’ hard-earned dollars from commodity promotions and instead spend them on high salaries and unauthorized lobbying efforts. Animal Wellness Action has worked with thousands of farmers to reform this “tax” on farmers that too often funds their economic demise.
Senator Paul has also given the nod to the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which is pending in the U.S. Senate and may also pass before the year ends. H.R. 263 passed the House in late July, and the measure would stop the interstate transport of tigers, African lions, and other big cats in the commercial pet trade and stop the breeding of big cats for commercial cub petting. Law enforcement, animal welfare groups, and accredited zoos are united in backing the legislation.
You can see Senator Paul’s speech on the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 on the floor here. Wayne Pacelle and Senator Paul discussed the FDA Modernization Act and other animal welfare issues in Louisville in the video here on October 14th. Bagel the Beagle was present for the conversation.