In 1993, Congress passed the NIH Revitalization Act which mandated that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implement a plan for reducing the use of animals in research. The law calls for the NIH to "conduct or support research into methods of biomedical research and experimentation that do not require the use of animals," as well as for reducing the number of animals used in research.
The law also stipulates that NIH is responsible for "encouraging the acceptance by the scientific community of such [non-animal] methods that have been found to be valid and reliable," ...and "for training scientists in the use of such methods that have been found to be valid and reliable."
Despite this law, an inexcusable number of animals, ranging from tens of millions to perhaps a hundred million or more, continue to be used in invasive experiments. Exact numbers are unavailable because U.S. law does not require research institutions to report the numbers of rats, mice, and birds used in experiments, even though these species comprise an estimated 99 percent of all animals used.
The Reallocation Initiative reminds the NIH and all institutions that this federal mandate is not being upheld. We must do a better job.