The state health department should develop rules for humane animal testing and require facilities using the testing to register with the state and comply with those rules, the state attorney general said. Michigan, Dana Nessel, in an official notice released Monday.
“Ultimately, the most appropriate way to develop the required standards and implement the required registration is a matter left to DHHS,” Nessel wrote.
Spokespersons for the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
State Representative Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth, had sought the opinion in late March on the argument that the state had neglected a law regulating animal testing for about 40 years. The request was prompted in part by controversial cardiovascular research in dogs at Wayne State University’s Louis M. Elliman Clinical Research Building.
“Despite having the authority to regulate the use of animals in experiments for more than 40 years, the state has ignored its legal mandate to oversee animal research facilities,” Koleszar said in the letter.
He and State Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, also called on the National Institutes of Health to cut funding to the facility.
The state’s public health code prohibits animal testing unless a facility is registered with the department and requires facilities to meet “board standards” to maintain registration, according to the opinion of Nessel.
The Legislature established a nine-member Animal Research Advisory Committee in 1978 to establish humane treatment standards that the Department of Health and Human Services would administer. But through a series of reorganizations in 1997 and 2015, the council was abolished and its functions transferred to the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, in Nessel’s view.
“I am therefore of the view that DHHS is obligated to register entities that hold or use animals for experimental purposes and must limit registration only to entities that conduct research on animals in a humane manner, as evidenced by the “standards” that DHHS must set. “wrote the attorney general.
Nessel clarified in his opinion that the Department of Health and Human Services should create rules for the humane treatment of animals that conform to federal standards. She also said her opinion does not mean that animal testing operations currently underway should cease operations until these rules and registration processes are completed.
Opponents of the Wayne State research say about 136 dogs have died from the lab’s work since 2009.
The procedure involved, Nessel noted in his opinion, seeks to find new therapies for hypertension and heart disease by inserting devices into and around a dog’s blood vessels, heart, skin and shoulder blades. . If the dogs survive the operation, their heart rate goes from a normal rate of between 70 and 120 beats per minute to 250 beats per minute.
The experiments continue until they die, Nessel said.