There is good news for animal lovers after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that laboratory animals will no longer receive a death sentence after their tests have been completed.

Until November last year, that had been the case, with thousands of healthy dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and some farm animals doomed to euthanasia once they had completed their testing.

But since the new measures were put in place by the FDA in November last year (although only recently announced by the agency), those animals deemed healthy enough will be given a second chance by being sent to shelters; from where some of them will be up for adoption.

Once the animals have been given the go-ahead to leave the FDA, the Animal Welfare Council will approve relevant foster/ re-homing organisations, or retirement sanctuaries.

A spokesperson for the FDA, Monique Richards confirmed the news to People, saying that her organization “has supported and continues to support the transfer, adoption or retirement” of animals which “meet applicable eligibility criteria”.

The change in policy came about after new legislation was introduced in 2019, with Maine Senator Susan Collins at the forefront.

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Bill co-sponsor, Arizona Senator Martha McSally, took to Twitter to express her pleasure over the FDA’s recent announcement:

“I introduced the AFTER [the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments and Research] Act to ensure animals from all federal laboratories are given a chance to find a loving home. Glad to see the FDA adopt this policy for animals in their labs.”

According to the FDA, who have headquarters in Maryland as well as 223 field offices and 13 laboratories, animals are used in the testing of vaccines, drugs and other and medical products.

The FDA also claims it has “supported efforts to reduce animal testing,” and has “research and development efforts underway to reduce the need for animal testing and to work towards a replacement of animal testing.”

The White Coat Waste Project (WCW), an organization which works to cut back on the taxpayer funding of laboratory animals, was also happy with the FDA’s announcement.

“1.2m WCW advocates asked. The FDA listened!” they stated on social media.