U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, on February 5 introduced The AWARE Act, a piece of legislation designed to ensure that certain minimum standards of humane care of farm animals are adhered to in federal and private research facilities.
According to a press release on Blumenauer’s website, the bill would ensure that farm animals used in agricultural research at federal research facilities be included in the definition of “animal” under the Animal Welfare Act. According to Blumenauer, the Animal Welfare Act defines “animal” in a way that excludes farm animals used in agricultural research.
“When USDA research facilities experiment on farm animals, they should be held to the same standard as federal research facilities conducting lifesaving disease research with the same kinds of animals. This bill is common sense for taxpayers, for researchers, and for the humane treatment of animals,” Blumenauer said.
“As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we felt a responsibility to present the AWARE Act as a legislative fix that holds the USDA to the same humane standards that countless research facilities across the country are held to,” added Fitzpatrick. “If we expect staff in these facilities to recognize their professional and legal obligations to safeguard the welfare of animals – we should set the bar at an equal, or higher, level for the federal government.“