SAN FERNANDO (CNS) — Democratic San Fernando Valley Congressman Tony Cardenas said he has sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security expressing concern about increases “in the agency’s painful animal testing” and seeking more information about the practice.

“While there’s no doubt that research involving animals have at times led to revolutionary scientific discoveries, compelling arguments for reducing and replacing animal testing with alternative, sound scientific methods are growing,” he said in a statement. “To this end, I sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to inquire about the concerning increase in rabbit testing and the extent of the department’s animal research.

“I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to push federal agencies to move away from unnecessary painful testing and adopt more humane and efficient research methods that result in beneficial outcomes.”

In the letter to William Bryan, the DHS official Performing the duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Cardenas wrote that he is “alarmed by a more than ten-fold increase in DHS’s use of rabbits between FY13 and FY18 including for research that causes animals significant pain and distress that is intentionally unrelieved.”

Cardenas said he began investigating DHS’s rabbit testing in April 2019 and notes in his letter that few details about this animal testing are publicly available. He also writes that federal agencies continue to recognize that animal testing does not always yield results applicable to humans.

The congressman’s letter praises DHS for eliminating its painful primate research, a practice that continues at other federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration.

Noelle Callahan, public policy manager at taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, said in a statement that her group and its more than 2 million members in California and beyond “applaud Congressman Cardenas for holding federal agencies accountable for secretively abusing animals and tax dollars for wasteful experiments opposed by most Americans.”

Cardenas is currently cosponsoring various bills aimed at curbing taxpayer-funded animal testing, and in recent years has helped end government tests on cats and dogs.