In fantastic news for animals, three new acts passed by Congress and on their way to becoming law will usher in a better world for sharks, animals in labs, and ocean dwellers.

Read on to learn more about the FDA Modernization Act, the Shark Fin Elimination Act, and the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act!  

Thank you so much to everyone who signed our petitions advocating for these important bills. You helped us send nearly 100,000 collective signatures to key legislators and committees speaking up for animals!

FDA Modernization Act 2.0 – Ending A Cruel Mandate to Test on Animals

The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 is one signature away from becoming law.

Senators, with efforts spearheaded by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), passed the legislation in September. The House followed up with passage in December. The new provisions are now on their way to President Joe Biden for signature as part of the FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

If passed, the Act would give scientists the option to use more reliable, human-relevant methods to establish drug safety instead of costly and cruel tests on animals. The legislation also includes an “animal testing alternatives” section that identifies other suitable options, such as cell-based assays, organ-chips, and bioprinted and computer models.

Thank you to the more than 38,900 people who signed our petition advocating for this lifesaving bill!

More than 200 organizations — including medical associations, biotech companies, and patient advocacy groups — back the bill, including nonprofit Center for Contemporary Sciences (CCS), the scientific lead advising Congress for the legislation.

CCS Founder Dr. Aysha Akhtar said Congressional passage was “a great first step to replace all cruel and ineffective animal tests” and a “win-win” situation for humans and animals in a celebratory Tweet.

CCS followed up in a website post about how the act is expected to speed up drug discovery, lower the cost of life-saving medications, and save countless animals’ lives.

“It is also very likely that numerous effective treatments were abandoned early because of misleading results in animals,” Akhtar added. “This is extremely concerning as millions of Americans are desperately waiting for better treatments, yet the outdated method of animal testing has likely caused drug developers to throw out useful medication and maybe even cures. It’s past due that the FDA’s regulatory process catches up with modern science.”

Currently, the approval process for a new drug relying on tests on animals takes an average 10 years to 15 years and costs an average $2 billion. 

Even then, given irreconcilable differences in species genetics, marketed products can still be unsafe for human use, given numerous product recalls following human health complications.The gloved hand of a technician holds a tiny petri dish up to the camera

2D cell culture in a tiny petri dish (License: Creative Commons)

Shark Fin Elimination Act — Creating a More Compassionate World For Sharks

The Shark Fin Elimination Act will ban buying or selling shark fins or products containing shark fins within the United States.

Congress is sending the passed legislation to President Biden as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual military policy bill.

Finning” happens when commercial fishers catch live sharks, slice off their fins, and then throw the bleeding and typically conscious animals back into the ocean — where they often bleed to a slow and painful death. The fins are considered by some people to be a “delicacy,” including in notoriously cruel shark fin soup. 

Oceana, one of the nonprofits that championed the legislation, estimates that at least 73 million sharks die each year for the global fin market. 

Thank you to the more than 23,400 people who signed our petition advocating for these precious sharks!

Great hammerhead shark is endangered.

(Photo Credit: Gary J. Wood via Wikimedia Commons)

Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act – Protecting Marine Dwellers Including Whales, Dolphins, and Sea Lions

The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act also passed as part of the 2023 omnibus appropriations bill!

The legislation will phase out harmful large mesh nets used by the commercial fishing industry off California’s coast — the only place in the United States that currently allows it! The nets often entangle and kill non-targeted species like whales, dolphins, and sea lions. 

Thank you to the more than 37,300 people who signed our petition urging an end to this cruel practice in California waters!