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A bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require the Food and Drug Administration to permit pharmaceutical companies to avoid running tests in dogs, an issue that has galvanized animal rights groups for years.

The move comes amid growing criticism that the agency has failed to ease testing requirements, even as some drug makers have argued that such testing may sometimes be unnecessary. The issue prompted the House Committee on Appropriations last year to direct the FDA to produce a report outlining ways drug makers can use alternatives to testing dogs.

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