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City Council Passes Ground-Breaking Resolution to Save Animals from Laboratory Research

Councilor Fiebelkorn’s successful bill directs Animal Welfare to donate tissue from spay and neuter clinics to UNM for biomedical research.

November 22, 2022

Last night, City Councilors unanimously approved R-22-73, potentially saving thousands of animals’ lives. The legislation, sponsored by Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn, directs the City’s Animal Welfare Department to work with the University of New Mexico Science Center College of Nursing to collect otherwise disposed-of animal tissues in City spay and neuter clinics for donation.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Albuquerque and I'm very proud of this legislation. We are saving animals, putting waste to use, and supporting science- it's a win-win-win!” said Councilor Fiebelkorn.

Every year, tens of thousands of dogs are used in laboratory research, and millions of animals are used in biomedical research. Dr. Xiaozhong John Yu, of the UNM College of Nursing, is working to create a new method of research that would reduce the number of animals used in laboratory testing by using otherwise disposed of tissue from spay and neuter clinics to mimic live animals.

In 2021, AWD performed 9,966 spay/neuter surgeries and plans to dramatically increase this number in the coming years. Currently, the tissue from these surgeries is disposed of; working with UNM provides an opportunity for the City to participate in ground-breaking research that could ultimately lead to a dramatic reduction in the use of live animals in laboratory research.

Councilor Fiebelkorn continued, “This legislation puts Albuquerque at the forefront of the movement to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the use of live animals in laboratory testing. This bill is proof that we can find forward-thinking policies that support animals’ rights while ensuring human safety as well.”

The Resolution directs AWD to enter into a written agreement with the UNM College of Nursing requiring that all animal tissue donated will be utilized solely to create in-vitro cell culture models as an alternative to lab testing on live animals.