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Rulemaking Petitions

A Rulemaking Petition is an official procedure by which individuals, groups, and companies can ask federal agencies to change or create new regulations. The federal regulatory process is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which includes provisions for Rulemaking Petitions. Requests for rulemaking must be based on a law the petitioned agency is charged with enforcing.

Petitions are generally either accepted, resulting in the desired change, or denied. Decisions can take months or sometimes years.

Below are NEAVS’ Rulemaking Petitions:

Failure to protect the chimpanzee, an endangered species

In 1990, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) were declared an “endangered” species. However, this protected status only applied to free-living chimpanzees; chimpanzees held in captivity in the U.S. remained separately listed as “threatened,” which allows for their continued use in biomedical research, entertainment, and as pets in the U.S. This “split-listing” of free-living versus captive chimpanzees deprives all captive chimpanzees of any of the protections provided to species listed under the Endangered Species Act and allows for their continued exploitation in captivity despite the serious implications for this free-living population.

In 2011, NEAVS/Project R&R was one of several organizations that filed a rulemaking petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that the agency "uplist" the status of captive chimpanzees from threatened to endangered. FWS found "[the petition]...presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing all chimpanzees...as endangered may be warranted." The petition is currently under review. Learn more.

Failure to retire chimpanzees from research

The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act, signed into law in 2000, could retire hundreds of chimpanzees from research immediately. It authorizes sending chimpanzees to sanctuary who are considered “not needed.” But “not needed” has never been defined. NEAVS submitted a Rulemaking Petition to hold the government accountable. Find out more.

Failure to mandate vailidated alternatives to animal research

NEAVS is a founding member of the Mandatory Alternatives Petition (MAP) coalition, which works to encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop better policy guidelines regarding the use of non-animal, in vitro testing methods to meet FDA requirements for drug or device approval. As it now stands, industry need only "consider" alternatives. This lack of mandate perpetuates the dependence on cruel and ineffective status quo animal testing. Through the goals of MAP - encouraging and mandating that validated alternatives must be used in lieu of animals, NEAVS seeks to spare the lives of millions of animals each year and to set a platform upon which new alternatives will be developed, validated, and used. Please add your name to a letter urging the FDA to encourage and mandate the use of non-animal testing methods.

Failure to protect monkeys' psychological well-being

Monkeys and other primates continue to suffer severe stress in labs and other captive environments despite a federal law requiring licensed facilities to provide for their social, emotional, and mental needs. In response, NEAVS, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group (LPAG), and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) have filed a formal Rulemaking Petition asking the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue clear criteria for labs to meet monkeys’ basic mental needs and improve their “psychological well-being.”

Currently, facilities can interpret requirements themselves, leaving the monkeys at their mercy. Stronger language would make the law enforceable. Learn more and sign a letter of support.