The National Institutes of Health is implementing a plan to limit the expenditure of funds for the acquisition of cats for NIH-supported research to legal sources other than USDA Class B dealers. These Class B Dealers include those licensed to sell animals from random sources which may include individual owners, small hobby breeders, pounds and animal shelters. The NIH strongly encourages awardees that use or are considering acquisition of cats from USDA Class B dealers for use in NIH-supported research to promptly begin identifying sources of cats from other legal sources.
For FY2012, regulations will be unchanged. Noncompeting and competing awards issued on or after October 1, 2012 (with FY 2013 funding) are prohibited from using NIH funds to procure cats from USDA Class B dealers. Thereafter, procurement of cats may only be from USDA Class A dealers or other approved legal sources.
Going forward, only Class A licensed dealers (purpose bred for research), privately owned colonies (e.g. colonies established by donations from breeders or owners because of genetic defects) or client owned animals (e.g. animals participating in veterinary clinical trials) can be sold for scientific research.
A similar policy was announced for Class B-sourced dogs. The proposed plan will phase out Class B-sourced dogs by 2015.
The transition plans are in accordance with the recommendations of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) report Scientific and Humane Issues in the Use of Random Source Dogs and Cats in Research (2009).