A recent Detroit News article prompted State Rep. Matt Koleszar to ask the Michigan Attorney General for an opinion on the use of animals in experimentation.
In his letter, he claims that “the State has ignored its statutory mandate to oversee animal research facilities”. The request relies on the fact that an animal research advisory board was created under the Department of Community Health with established standards under MCL 333.2671 et seq. In 1997, the animal research advisory board was essentially abolished and the powers and duties of the board were transferred to the Department of Community Health (now the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services) under section 5 of an Executive Reorganization Order (E.R.O. No. 1997-4).
In asking for an opinion, Rep. Koleszar questions the DHHS’s obligation to register laboratories using animals under existing law (as modified by the 1997 ERO) and whether only those doing so in a humane manner be allowed to register. Further, there is a request that the agency create some standard for what is “humane.” He claims examples of inhumane treatment of research animals at Michigan-based research facilities necessitates that Michigan take a greater role of regulating such activities, particulary in the absence of sufficient oversight by federal agencies.
This matter is simply the latest salvo by legislators and animal rights activists to take whatever actions necessary to prohibit animal research. As reported last month, it comes on the heels of bills pending in the Legislature to govern post-study disposition of research animals. MichBio continues to stand up for the humane and ethical use of animals in biomedical research as one approach a to better understanding of basic biology and pathophysiology that may lead to the discovery of novel life-saving treatments and procedures.