A measure introduced by US Senator Daniel Akaka (D) from Hawaii that would restrict research institutions from purchasing laboratory animals from certain suppliers was dropped and removed from the Agriculture Appropriations bill by the senate last week.

Senator Akaka's "Class B amendment" would prohibit colleges, universities and other research centers that lawfully purchase animals from Class B dealers from receiving funds from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.) Class B dealers are those who get animals from a range of sources, while Class A dealers breed them.

The amendment apparently stemmed from reports that Class B dealers steal animals and subject them to abusive handling, denying them sufficient food, water, and veterinary care before they are sold off to laboratories. Scientists denied these reports, and argued that the move would do more to limit research than to protect animal rights. Indeed, the...

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