On 21st November 2022, the Albuquerque City Council, New Mexico, US, unanimously approved a resolution to direct the City’s Animal Welfare Department (AWD) to work with the University of New Mexico (UNM) Science Center College of Nursing to collect animal tissues in City spay and neuter clinics to be used as an alternative to animal tests.

In 2021, AWD performed 9,966 spay/neuter surgeries. 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 tissue from spay and neuter clinics that are routinely disposed of. This resolution will allow the use of such tissue instead of doing tests on animals. The written agreement between the AWD and the UNM College of Nursing should require 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.

The resolution R-22-73 was sponsored by Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn, who said, “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!… 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.”

This political move is a consequence of scientists getting closer to finding alternatives to animal testing that are accepted by academics and laboratories. For instance, Microphysiological systems (MPS), the latest technological advances in alternatives to animal testing, are gradually being taken seriously by many scientists, which may end up using them and giving up the animal testing model. This umbrella term includes different types of high-tech devices, such as organoids, tumoroids, and organs-on-a-chip.

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.