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General News / WBAA

Humane Society of Indiana eyes new laws around animal testing in 2023

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The Indiana Humane Society is calling on West Lafayette-based pharmaceutical development company Inotiv to release dogs used for testing so they can be put up for adoption (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

The Humane Society of the United States and Indiana lawmakers called for changes to state laws around adopting animals used for pharmaceutical testing at a statehouse press conference Tuesday.

In April, the Humane Society attempted to deliver signatures to the pharmaceutical testing company Inotiv, calling for the release of some 80 dogs used in its labs. The appeal follows a recent Human Society investigation of the company’s Mount Vernon facility, which alleges violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Inotiv is not alone in being hit with complaints about the treatment of animals in its testing facilities. In May, the Department of Justice and the United States Department of Agriculture confiscated some 140 dogs from a Virginia lab managed by a separate testing company, Envigo.

Reporting by National Geographic in 2021 documented a reluctance by the USDA to pursue repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Samantha Morton is the Indiana State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. She said the beagles used in Inotiv tests are set to be euthanized, and the Humane Society would like to see the animals adopted instead.

“Inotiv has said they are legally required to kill the dogs at the end of the study, but they have not offered proof that that is the case,” she said. “We’re asking them if they don’t release the dogs, just show us what it is they are relying on.”

In 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised its own policy, allowing animals used in experiments to be transferred out to shelters and sanctuaries.

Morton said she would like to see the state enact more humane animal testing laws during its 2023 session, with the goal of a reduction in animal testing overall - and a focus on the animal adoption requirement after testing is complete.

“Actually, 14 states have laws like that on their books,” she said. “Most recently Iowa passed a law like that. Truly what we’re telling folks is – if we had a law like that, currently these beagles would be finding loving homes instead of unfortunately being euthanized.”

Inotiv did not respond to WBAA’s request for comment.