Score one for research animals! In June 2015, the New York Senate unanimously passed a bill requiring research laboratories to notify shelters about retired dogs or cats that are eligible for possible adoption.
Previously, laboratories typically euthanized the animals following their time as research subjects, according to News 12 Long Island. The New York Assembly must approve the measure before it heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk.
State Senator Phil Boyle, R-Bay Shore, introduced the bill in 2014 as part of the Beagle Freedom Project. Colloquially called the “Beagle Freedom Bill,” the proposal requires taxpayer-assisted laboratories in the state to offer all dogs and cats to nonprofit animal rescue agencies after the animals complete their service to the lab.
Current New York law stipulates that lab animals must have proper care, pain management, food, water, and shelter. Once the animals are no longer needed for research, laboratories generally euthanize them to make room for younger, healthier animals.
However, many of these older dogs and cats are in good enough health to make excellent pets. If accepted at a shelter, these formerly caged, perfectly lovable animals have a chance to find an adoptive home with a caring family.
Legislators who oppose the New York bill believe animal shelters already suffer from overcrowding, and the addition of lab animals creates further unnecessary hardship. However, the law attempts to mitigate this problem by mandating donations from tax-funded laboratories for every animal released to a rescue shelter. Donations to the shelter would go toward extra food, supplies and marketing efforts to help dogs and cats find homes.
New York joins Minnesota and Nevada as the only states with such laws on the books. Nevada passed similar animal rescue legislation in early June 2014; Minnesota’s law covers educational institutions, but not private labs, notes the Care2 network.
Former research animals can go on to live longer, happy lives, and bring joy to adoptive families throughout the state.
You can help these animals find their forever homes by calling or emailing your state legislators in support of animal rights bills. You can also donate to the Beagle Freedom Project, which is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.
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