Author Affiliation: Mr Glickman served as US Secretary of Agriculture from March 30, 1995, to January 20, 2001.
Controversies Section Editor: Phil B. Fontanarosa,
MD, Executive Deputy Editor.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently settled the litigation
involving coverage of rats, mice, and birds under the Animal Welfare Act.
I firmly believe that the USDA's decision in this matter was in the best interest
of all involved—the federal government, the Alternatives Research and
Development Foundation (ARDF), and the biomedical research community—and
will not jeopardize important research being conducted on a number of fronts.
The USDA entered into the settlement agreement with the ARDF, the plaintiffs
in the case, because attorneys with the Justice Department and our Office
of the General Counsel advised us that the US District Court might very possibly
rule in favor of the ARDF. If that had happened, the US District Court could
have dictated the nature and time frame for coverage of rats, mice, and birds
under the Animal Welfare Act. Such a judgment might have even required the
USDA to extend coverage immediately under existing standards with no opportunity
for input of any kind from the research community and other interested parties.
Glickman D. Regulations for the Use of Laboratory Animals. JAMA. 2001;285(7):941. doi:10.1001/jama.285.7.941