Dogs and cats once used for research in Hawaii are one step closer to spending the rest of their lives in loving homes.
On March 7, the Hawaii Senate voted unanimously to approve SB 593, legislation that would require any research facility that intends to euthanize an otherwise healthy dog or cat for any purpose other than scientific, medical or educational research to instead offer the animal for adoption.
A House version of the bill, HB 3, received unanimous support in that chamber’s Agriculture Committee in February, before moving to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The House will now be asked to consider the Senate version of this bill.
“This legislation represents a second chance for all dogs and cats currently being used for research in Hawaii,” says Marcia Kramer, Director of Legal and Legislative Programs for the National Anti-Vivisection Society. NAVS has been working closely with members of both chambers of the Hawaii State Legislature since the start of the 2017 session to introduce and pass this law.
Passage of the research animal adoption law would place Hawaii among a growing number of states–including Minnesota, California, Connecticut, Nevada and New York—that have enacted similar legislation.
“Too often, animals used in research are regarded as disposable commodities,” Kramer continues, “euthanized and discarded when they’re no longer ‘needed,’ instead of having a chance to live outside the laboratory These animals deserve better—and this legislation will give them an opportunity to find their forever homes.”
According to Kramer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that more than 19,000 cats and 61,000 dogs were used in research, teaching and testing in the United States in 2015. Hawaii accounted for 275 of those animals. Kramer is encouraged by the fact that California, the top user of cats and dogs—nearly 8,700 in 2015—successfully passed adoption legislation recently.
“We feel the law has a strong chance of passing in Hawaii,” she says, “particularly given the overwhelmingly positive response it has received thus far.” She notes, too, that NAVS has pledged financial assistance to help facilitate the transfer of adoptable animals to local adoption centers and to support necessary veterinary care.
NAVS is advocating on behalf of adoption legislation in states around the country. In addition to Hawaii, NAVS is currently working to see research animal adoption laws passed in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Texas.