May 2022 Update:
In last month’s newsletter we informed that State Rep. Matt Koleszar asked the Michigan Attorney General (AG) for an opinion on the requirement to register facilities who use of animals in research and only permit those doing so in a “humane” manner. Due to several administrative reorganizations and transference of powers some 25 years ago, the Michigan Department of Human Health & Services (MDHHS), was obligated to fulfill the statutory mandate, but never has…hence the request for legal clarity.
The AG issued an official legal opinion agreeing the State failed to comply with the 1978 law requiring creation of a registry and safety rules for conducting animal research. In an accompanying online video, AG Nessel indicated that the responsibility to enact animal research rules remains and that MDHHS has the authority to inspect laboratories “to determine whether standards have been met.”
However, the AG noted two important caveats. First, that MDHHS should draft the Michigan standards with the understanding that certain federal laws and regulations also apply to entities conducting animal research and are preemptive. And secondly, the formal opinion does not intend to mandate that all currently ongoing animal research in Michigan must cease. The opinion ended by saying that “ultimately, the most appropriate manner in which to develop the required standards and implement the required registration is a matter left to DHHS.” It is expected that MDHHS will embark on a rulemaking process to develop appropriate regulations. MichBio is planning to be engaged in such discussions.
April 2022 Update:
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.