Animals used in research are routinely euthanized when a research project is done, even though they may be otherwise suitable for adoption. New legislation would require federal research facilities to make animals available for adoption or for retirement to a sanctuary.
The Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments and Research (AFTER) Act, HR 2897, would require all federal research facilities to develop a plan for the adoption or retirement of “suitable” animals following the conclusion of the research in which they are used. Each institution would be required to develop specific criteria for determining the suitability of each animal.
There is also a separate federal bill being considered this session, the Humane Retirement Act (HR 2850), which would apply specifically to adoptable cats and dogs used for federally-funded research, giving these companion animals the opportunity to be welcomed into loving homes. This effort would bolster new state laws that also address opportunities for post-research cat and dog adoption (see below).
However, not all animals are appropriate to keep as companion animals, especially nonhuman primates, whose private ownership is prohibited in many states. That is why the AFTER Act is so important, as it would provide a path to freedom for these “non-companion” animals, allowing them to be retired to a species-appropriate sanctuary.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to support the AFTER Act.
In Oregon, SB 638 requires research facilities that use dogs or cats for laboratory research to offer these animals for adoption prior to euthanasia once they are no longer used for research. This bill, approved by the Oregon Senate in March, passed the House on May 30 and was approved—as amended—by the Senate on June 6. This bill now goes to Gov. Brown for her signature. If the law is signed, Oregon will be the 11th state to adopt a law giving dogs and cats used in research a chance to spend their lives in a loving home. Thanks to all advocates who helped push this humane legislation forward!