By Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33)
Last week, we learned the strength of Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws rank 15th nationwide – representing a triumphant climb from the bottom 10 just eight years ago.
But we still have a long way to go before we reach the summit – and I intend to make sure we get there.
The cruelty inflicted on lab animals under the guise of medical experimentation, although around for decades, found its way back into headlines last year when members of Congress demanded answers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – and Dr. Anthony Fauci – about inhumane and unspeakable abuse inflicted on puppies and monkeys.
Researchers on South Carolina’s Morgan Island, for example, routinely inject up to 600 monkeys with debilitating viruses and withhold pain medication.
Reports also surfaced that at least 44 beagle puppies suffered and died after lab workers locked their heads in cages and allowed hungry sandflies to eat them alive. Others were injected with experimental drugs and all of them had vocal cords removed so workers wouldn’t be subjected to their pained cries.
This is torture – plain and simple – and Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spent at least $1.68 million in taxpayer money to fund it.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which gave Pennsylvania its esteemed ranking, notes that data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirms just 8% of drugs tested on animals are deemed safe and effective for human use.
The organization also claims research labs experiment on more than 1 million animals across the United States annually. The NIH spends around $14.5 billion in public funding for these barbaric tests – and that figure doesn’t even consider costs borne by other federal agencies and private companies.
So, it’s equally disturbing to me that Pennsylvania’s existing animal cruelty statute exempts medical research labs, so long as they meet a short list of regulations deeming their facilities “lawful.”
Pennsylvania has taken massive strides to protect animals from cruelty, neglect and abuse that culminated in the landmark Libre’s Law in 2017. This comprehensive bill strengthened penalties against perpetrators of these sickening crimes, catapulting Pennsylvania from its dismal bottom 10 ranking at the time to 24th.
Since then, we’ve improved our standing even further. Now, it’s time we take the next big step to protect animals in this state from these torturous lab experiments – especially when safer, more humane options exist. That’s why I will soon introduce legislation banning scientific experiments on live domestic dogs and cats within Pennsylvania.
These painful and deadly procedures inflict unimaginable and never-ending pain on these animals that not even human beings can endure.
This issue cuts across partisan lies, rises above sensationalism and demands action. Subjecting our domestic companions to this kind of suffering, distress and lasting harm has no place in Pennsylvania.