Laboratory animal welfare was a concern for Americans even before the news told the story of Pepper, a family’s dog that was stolen and died at a research facility. That event galvanized the public and prompted legislative action to pass the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (now the Animal Welfare Act). In 1985, research animals again were a focal point of public and Congressional interest.
Senator Bob Dole Advocates for Research Animals
After U.S. legislators introduced several bills regarding animals in research in the early 1980s, Senator Bob Dole (1923-2021)—a long-time animal welfare advocate—included the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act in the 1985 Farm Bill. After the bill passed, President Ronald Reagan signed it into law on December 23, 1985.
Portion of Senator Bob Dole's news release, 1983: “Dole Chairs Animal Welfare Hearing”
The changes to the AWA were major, including:
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