As people are becoming more and more aware of their impact on the environment, many are choosing to alter their actions as well as the products they use and the companies they support. Lately, the masses have looked closer at what brands and big names have products that were created using animal testing. And while the following outrage made many companies change their policies and stop testing on animals, the FDA still requires all drugs in the US to be tested on animals. What’s more gruesome than that, it was also required to euthanize the animals after the tests on them were conducted.

Fortunately, things are changing and now The Food and Drug Administration is rolling out a new policy that allows such animals to escape an unfortunate death. From now on, animals that were used in lab tests and are still healthy may be adopted, sent to shelters, or live out the rest of their days in sanctuaries.

Before the new policy, all animals used in lab tests had to be euthanized

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FDA spokesperson Monique Richards spoke to The Hill to report on the new policy. Turns out, the agency rolled out the new policy back in November of last year. Among the animals whose lives will now be spared are dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and some farm animals.

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“Yes, all species are covered,” Richards told Green Matters in an interview. “The animal program management, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and attending veterinarians in each FDA animal program use their professional expertise to decide on eligibility and proper placement.” Unfortunately, the policy only covers animals that are deemed healthy after the testing is done, so any poor animals that are left in a poor state of health would be still euthanized.

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The FDA conducts its experiments on animals for a reason. They need to evaluate how safe and efficient drugs, vaccines, various medical devices, and more are. Unfortunately, Cruelty Free International says that animal tests are actually not the most accurate way to measure that. According to CFI’s research, 90% of the drugs tested on animals end up failing on human volunteers.

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As grim as these statistics might seem, the fact that the FDA has rolled out such a policy might be a sign that better days are coming for the poor critters that might become “lab rats.” As animal exploitation becomes a more pressing issue in the eyes of the public, it wouldn’t be surprising if the FDA is steering towards different and more humane alternatives.

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Richards also remarked that the FDA and 13 other federal agencies are involved in the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), whose goal is to eventually phase out animal testing and replace it with non-animal testing methods as soon as possible.

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Additionally, legislators are trying to push the AFTER Act in Congress, which would require and help federal agencies to rehome animals that were previously used for experiments.

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Here’s how people reacted to the new policy