FDA Commissioner Leaving Agency in March

After almost six years leading the Food and Drug Administration, Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg announced that she will be leaving the post in March, leaving behind a legacy of improving food safety and speeding-up drug approvals.  Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA’s chief scientist, is expected to be her temporary replacement.

Hamburg said in an interview that she is leaving the FDA because “this is a difficult and demanding job where you’re buffeted by all sorts of points of view.”  Several controversial issues were tackled by FDA during her tenure such as the approval of Plan B morning-after contraceptives for teens and tackling compounding pharmacies.

Please continue to visit www.NABR.org for more updates.

Today is Veterinary Medicine Day in Georgia!

On January 28, the Georgia State Senate passed SR90, legislation marking today, February 4, 2015, as Veterinary Medicine Day at the state capitol.  

The resolution commends all veterinarians for the scientific knowledge and skills they put forward towards the protection of animal health and for their commitment to the betterment of the animal world.

SR90 acknowledges the importance of veterinary medicine by proclaiming, “veterinarians use their scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge,” adding that they, “protect, promote, and preserve the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Georgia.”

NABR President’s Op-Ed on Ebola Research in Baltimore Sun

On Friday, January 30, NABR President Frankie Trull submitted an op-ed piece for the Baltimore Sun titled, “Look to animals to cure Ebola.”

In her editorial, Trull discusses the importance of nonhuman primates (NHP) in the race to find a treatment for Ebola, a virus that has claimed more than 8,600 lives and infected thousands more in West Africa.  She also discusses how animal research has been influential in contributing to advances in defeating HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, Alzheimer’s, avian flu, SARS, and other human and veterinary health challenges.

Please click here to read the op-ed.

Discussion with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH’s NIAID, Featured on CSPAN

Yesterday evening, CSPAN aired a special Q&A interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

In this hour long discussion, Dr. Fauci gave pointers for scientists and researchers when speaking to the public and elected officials.  He also spoke about his upbringing, his medical career at the NIH, his experience with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the recent Ebola crisis, and his relationship with several U.S. Presidents and Congress.

To view the episode, please click here.

Only a Few Spots Remain Available for NABR’s Next Webinar!

Space is extremely limited for NABR's next webinar, 2014 USDA Inspection Numbers: Will History Repeat Itself? scheduled for Tuesday, January 13. Fewer than 12 spots remain so if you have not registered yet, please do ASAP!

A preliminary analysis of the FY 2014 inspection data shows that the numbers were down. Inspections were down 7%, the number of citations down 21%, direct noncompliant items down 76% and repeat noncompliant items were down 68%. While the Top Ten cited sections still are topped by IACUC functions and veterinary care issues, the number and nature of citations provide some interesting insights into the inspection process.

Start 2015 on the right foot by being fully armed with the facts for your next USDA inspection as we will:

• Review the Top Ten categories of citations
• Provide an overview and analysis of the nature of those citations
• Provide practical tips on how to avoid those citations
• Provide our perspective on the overall inspection process

Don't miss this opportunity to help you and your institution prepare for the upcoming new year! Register TODAY for 2014 USDA Inspection Numbers: Will History Repeat Itself?

Click here to reserve your spot on January 13, 2015!




Webinar participants will be provided with a Certificate of Attendance upon request.

*This webinar is a complimentary service for NABR member institutions. An unlimited number of interested participants from each member institution may register free of charge. Interested participants from non-member institutions must be pre-approved and will be charged a per-person access fee of $279. All major credit cards are accepted. You will be contacted for payment upon registration. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

114th Congress Convenes in Washington

Thirteen new U.S. Senators and 58 House members were sworn in on Tuesday when the 114th U.S. Congress opened for business. Having gained the majority in the Senate and increased their numbers in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans now control both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006.

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was re-elected to his third term as Speaker of the House, despite a last-minute challenge for the position. He was selected on the first ballot although 25 members from the Republican Party’s conservative wing voted against him.

The most significant changes on Capitol Hill are taking place in Senate leadership. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who took over the top Senate position from the Democrats, will enjoy a 54-46 voting margin. All committees are switching from Democratic to Republican Party chairs. New chairs of key committees affecting NABR members are:

Agriculture -- Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) takes over this committee, which has jurisdiction over the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). He previously chaired the House Agriculture committee for 20 years.

Appropriations -- The gavel of the powerful panel responsible for drafting approximately one-third of the federal budget returns to Mississippi's Senator Thad Cochran, who was just re-elected to a seventh term.

Budget – In a surprise move, Wyoming's Mike Enzi became chairman of the Senate Budget Committee after Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama stepped aside. Sessions had been the top Republican on the committee the last four years.

Environment & Public Works -- Oklahoma's Senator James Inhofe replaces Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who previously chaired this committee with responsibility for bills affecting federal product safety and testing requirements. Sen. Inhofe, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), was a champion of the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). As NABR members will also recall, the committee now chaired by Inhofe is the same committee in which a hearing on legislation to prohibit the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research (the Great Ape Protection Act) was previously held.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions – Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee takes the reins here. The former education secretary under President George H.W. Bush, governor and president of the University of Tennessee, has said modernizing the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration is a necessity.

The full listing of committee assignments for Republican Senators is available here. The Democratic member list for Senate committees is posted here.

Please continue checking your email and www.NABR.org for legislative updates.

Australia May Turn to AETA-Like Law in Response to Criminal Acts by Animal Extremists

The Australian government could follow the United States’ example by enacting an Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) to address growing public concerns about animal rights extremists, according to FarmWeekly.com.au. Brisbane-based agribusiness lawyer Trent Thorne made the comment at an Australian Livestock Association meeting after a truck and trailer were recently set ablaze at a south-west Western Australian feedlot and a nearby building was vandalized with the words ‘Stop Live Export’ painted across it. That incident prompted Wellard Rural Exports to reveal a series of similar incidents involving activist-related activity, with the potential to cause serious injury or death.

“For the sake of clarity, I am not advocating the introduction of laws of this gravity in the Australian legal framework,” Thorne said, “but social license issues cut both ways.” He continued, “The live export industry is well placed to provide a first-hand account of what happens when you lose the confidence of parts of the wider population. . . if animal rights lobby groups don’t want to play by the rules expected by most fair minded citizens, donations to these groups will almost certainly dry up. And you can also be certain that consideration will be given to the implementation of these types of laws in the Australian context, to ensure people who are conducting their lawful business are not placed in jeopardy.”

“CRomnibus” Measure Provides FY 2015 Funding for Research

On Saturday, December 13, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill, and last night the President signed it into law, ending any threat of a federal government shutdown. Federal spending authority was due to expire at midnight tonight. The “CRomnibus” -- a Continuing Resolution and omnibus appropriations combination measure -- continues funding for federal programs through September 30, 2015, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security. Funds for that department were extended only through February, when a showdown over immigration reform is expected. Although other matters of substance were affected, as reported by Science here and here, details of particular interest to NABR members follow:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s largest research funder, received a total of $30 billion, $150 million above the fiscal year 2014 level. Biomedical research advocates note that the small increase won’t allow agency spending to keep pace with inflation. The $150 million increase, a mere 0.5% boost over the $29.9 billion it received last year, still leaves NIH below its budget level in 2012 before sequestration took a 5% bite. “We appreciate any increase, but it’s not getting the job done. We’re going backwards,” says Jennifer Zeitzer, deputy director of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s (FASEB) Office of Public Affairs.

The bill singles out a few areas for larger increases. The National Institute on Aging gets a $28.6 million increase, or a 2.4% raise to $1.2 billion. “[A] significant portion” of the new money should go to Alzheimer’s disease depending on the quality of grant proposals, says a report accompanying the bill. Some institutes also received a boost as part of a $25 million increase for the Obama Administration’s BRAIN Initiative, which receives a total of $65 million.

Efforts to combat the Ebola virus got about $5.2 billion in emergency spending (which is not counted as part of the regular budget), some $800 million less than the White House had requested. Included is $25 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of which may be used to expedite testing and approval of human drugs and vaccines.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) fared slightly better than NIH, receiving a 2.4% increase, to $7.344 billion. That amount is $89 million above the president’s request, although it falls short of the $222 million boost that the House of Representatives had approved in May.

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