May 27, 2021
On Tuesday, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before the House Appropriations Committee (Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, Chair). Their testimony addressed questions on the fiscal year 2022 budget request for the NIH. This process occurs each year. (Watch the full hearing here).
If we’re going to make advances in…diseases, we are still going to need to depend for a lot of that effort on animal research.~Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director
During the second round of questioning, as she has done in years past, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), confronted Dr. Collins on animal-based research. Earlier this year (and in years past), Rep. Roybal-Allard co-sponsored a House bill that is redundant with existing, extensive legislation that governs oversight of animal research. In the hearing, she asked Dr. Collins three rapid-fire questions about the importance of animal research funded by NIH, focusing on alternatives to animal research. Rep. Roybal-Allard’s questions were misguided, indicating that there is no longer a need for animal research (watch the excerpt below). However, Dr. Collins was undeterred, and in just 60 seconds he unequivocally laid out the undeniable facts that:
- “Every experiment that is done with animals is done appropriately with rigor and reproducibility.”
- “In many instances, there really are no alternatives to the animal model…we need to support that to be sure we’re doing that with great responsibility.”
- “That [alternative] doesn’t work for lots of applications, so we still are going to need animals.”
- “For the foreseeable future, if we’re going to make advances in things like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, rare diseases, we are still going to need to depend for a lot of that effort on animal research.”
Speaking of Research commends Dr. Collins for speaking truth to power and setting the record straight. It is vital that lawmakers enact policy grounded in evidence, particularly when it comes to life-saving animal-based research.
~Speaking of Research