NAVS reviews legislation promoting adoption of lab animals
Update 6/6/17: Illinois passes legislation; awaits Governor’s signature. Delaware introduces new legislation.
In 2017, NAVS has launched a campaign to encourage legislators to support a law to require laboratories that use dogs and cats for research to adopt out healthy animals when they have finished the research, testing or educational activity for which they are being used. NAVS has targeted the states that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, use the most dogs and cats for research purposes. Letters went out to thousands of legislators to sponsor a bill this year to give dogs and cats used for research a chance at a loving home.
In 2014, Minnesota passed a law that required publicly-funded institutions of higher learning to adopt out their dogs and cats used for research and education instead of routinely euthanizing them when they are no longer needed. While this measure will not end the use of these animals for research, it does reflect a new trend recognizing that animals deserve to enjoy a good life after their time spent in a laboratory.
Since the Minnesota bill was passed, five other states—Minnesota, California, Connecticut, Nevada and New York—have already adopted similar legislation.
A 2015 Gallup poll showed that 67% of Americans were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about animals used for research. The public largely agrees that animals no longer needed for research should be offered for adoption. Now we just have to convince legislators to join in the effort.
If you live in a state that has legislation pending, please contact your legislator and encourage them to support this legislation.
If you live in a state that does not yet have this legislation, please consider downloading a model bill from the Animal Law Resource Center and sending it to your state legislator for consideration.
Delaware, SB 101 Would require research facilities that receive public money that use dogs or cats for research, education, testing or scientific purposes to offer healthy dogs and acts for adoption through an animal rescue organization or through private adoption.
Hawaii, SB 593/HB 3 Would require a research facility that intends to euthanize an otherwise healthy dog or cat for any purpose other than scientific, medical or educational research to offer the dog or cat for adoption.
3/7/17 SB 593 approved with a slight amendment by the full Senate; 3/15/17 House Agriculture Committee deferred this bill, meaning it will not move forward. HB 3, which was unanimously approved by the House Agriculture Committee, will not be considered by Judiciary Committee for passage.
Illinois, SB 1884 Would require a higher education research facility that receives public money to make a reasonable effort to offer cats and dogs no longer needed for research for adoption if the research facility’s veterinary staff determines that the animal is healthy.
5/30/17 Bill approved unanimously by both Houses—on to the Governor’s desk.
Iowa, HF 594 Would require research facilities to establish a program for the routine transfer of dogs and cats no longer used for testing, evaluation or observation to an animal shelter or animal rescue organization, or directly to the public. Research facilities would establish health and psychological conditions for animals to be eligible for transfer.
4/22/17 Legislature adjourned without consideration of this bill
Maine, LD 246 Would require higher education research facilities that receive public money to offer healthy dogs or cats no longer needed for research to an animal rescue organization or animal shelter for adoption, or offer them through private placement, instead of euthanizing the animals.
3/2/17 Committee on Agriculture reported that bill “Ought Not to Pass”
Maryland, HB 528 and SB 420 Would require research facilities which use dogs or cats for scientific purposes to take reasonable steps to provide for the adoption of the animals no longer needed by offering them to animal rescue organizations.
Hearing held before Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, 2/14/17
2/21/17 Hearing held before House Appropriations Committee
4/10/17 Legislature adjourned without further action on these bills.
Massachusetts, S 489/and H 3232 Would require research institutions and product testing facilities to offer cats and dogs used in research to an animal shelter or rescue organization for adoption if the animal is deemed appropriate for adoption. These bills would also limit the use of an animal by a research or testing facility to two years.
North Dakota, HB 1267 Would require public higher education institution research facilities to offer dogs or cats no longer needed for research to an animal rescue organization or animal shelter for adoption before euthanizing the animals.
2/1/17 House failed to pass this measure
Rhode Island, H 5161 Would require higher education research facilities that receive public money to offer healthy dogs or cats no longer needed for research to an animal rescue organization or animal shelter for adoption, or offer them through private placement, instead of euthanizing the animals.
3/8/17 House Committee on Health, Education & Welfare recommended bill be held for further study—bill is no longer active this session.
Texas, HB 2490 and SB 1930 Would require research facilities to offer for private adoption or for adoption through an animal rescue organization a cat or dog retired from research who does not have a substantial medical condition preventing the that adoption.
5/29/17 Bills died without passage at end of session.