Mitt Romney can influence Congress by ending the legal requirement for animal testing.

Jeremy Beckham | Utah Animal Rights Coalition

As Executive Director of the Utah Animal Rights Coalition (UARC), my mission is to expose and help end cruelty to animals wherever it occurs. I applaud the recent closure from a facility in Virginia owned by Envigo that bred and sold thousands of beagles each year to labs around the world.

Federal investigators had documented more than 70 animal welfare law violations at the disgraceful facility, including housing hundreds of sick, malnourished, filth-dwelling beagles with grossly inadequate veterinary care.

While Utah animal lovers can join me in celebrating and helping find homes for 4,000 beagles released from this facility, it’s important to understand that this is about more than just a story. oversized adoption. We can all play a role here in our state to prevent the abuse and needless death of more animals for lab experiments.

Congress is considering a long overdue shift in the current drug development paradigm and the US Food and Drug Administration’s overreliance on animal testing. If adopted, it would prevent animals from being endangered in the first place. And, if you follow the science, it’s clear that we can also put human health first.

UARC is joined by 170 animal welfare, pharmaceutical, patient and medical groups to support this change. One of these groups, Animal welfare actionis spearheading efforts to end the animal testing mandate with a bipartisan bill known as the FDA Modernization Act.

This legislation would lift a 1962 mandate for animal testing and allow scientists to use new and better testing strategies for drug and vaccine development, including modern methods that spare animals. Technology has changed a lot since 1962, and it’s time our laws and regulations caught up.

Animal testing cannot predict human response to drugs. Scientists have discovered that almost 95% drugs that appear safe and effective in animals fail or harm people in human clinical trials due to adverse effects not predicted by traditional animal testing.

Animal testing is no longer just inhumane, it is now vastly inferior to sophisticated new human-based models. Technologies such as organoids and organs on chips can replicate the function of human organs, as they are made from human cells and bioengineered to perform the natural functions of the organs they model.

For example, researchers recently evaluated the performance of organ chips that model the human liver, an important organ to understand because it is the primary site of metabolism for most drugs. Developed by biotechnology company Emulate, Inc., and called Liver-Chips, the study evaluated the ability of Liver-Chips to assess the toxicity of 22 known drugs, that is, drugs for which we already have a lot of real patient data.

The study demonstrated that the Liver-Chip was able to correctly identify 87% of the drugs tested that caused drug-induced liver injury in patients. These were drugs that had already been tested as safe in animal tests. The liver damage has resulted 208 patient deaths and 10 liver transplants. If these drugs had been tested using the Liver-Chip, these deaths and human injuries would likely have been avoided. Unfortunately, current law prohibits pharmaceutical companies from using this more reliable technology and instead requires them to perform archaic and outdated animal testing.

This is why bipartisanship FDA Modernization Act is necessary. Fortunately, it is progressing towards its promulgation. It was part of a larger package of FDA reforms and passed the full House 392-28. It was also included in the Senate version of the bill and was rejected by the committee. The two chambers are now in negotiations to reconcile the language of the two packages, with a good chance of passing before the end of the year.

We can all help move this important bill forward if we speak up and tell our elected leaders to vote for the FDA Modernization Act. The voice of Utahns is especially important because Sen. Mitt Romney sits on a powerful committee that can push this transformative legislative effort across the finish line.

Join me in urging Senator Romney to step up and support this crucial bill that can remove the outdated mandate for animal testing so we can get cheaper, faster drugs to patients while moving closer to the day when we will never read another horror story about animal husbandry again. mills that exist to sell animals to laboratories.

Jeremy BeckhamMPA, MPH, is the executive director of the Utah Animal Rights Coalitiona non-profit organization dedicated to ending cruelty to animals in Utah, wherever it occurs.