On October 7, 2015, California became only the 4th state to enact a law giving special protections to healthy cats and dogs that were formerly laboratory animals. Assembly Bill 147 was passed by the state legislature, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and became § 66017.7 of the state’s Education Code.
Cats and dogs are used in laboratory experiments by pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries. Beagles, in particular, reportedly make excellent laboratory animals because of their relatively trusting and easygoing temperaments. In the past and up to the law’s effective date of January 1, 2016, laboratory animals are euthanized after outliving their usefulness to researchers, whether or not the animals are healthy. Clearly, laboratories preferred quietly euthanizing the animals, as the laboratories avoided the trouble and expense of caring for cats and dogs after their usefulness and public scrutiny/criticism of their methods.
Concerned with the welfare of beagles and all other cats and dogs used in laboratory experiments, the Beagle Freedom Project collaborated with Assemblyman Matthew Dababneh (D-Encino) in writing and introducing the bill. The great extent of Beagle Freedom Project’s involvement in fashioning and championing the new law can be seen in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCdrescC8xA
Effective January 1, 2016, laboratories must work with charitable organizations to find homes for healthy cats and dogs it no longer uses, rather than euthanizing them. Furthermore, Beagle Freedom Project intends to monitor laboratories to ensure their compliance with the new law.
As Beagle Freedom Project’s president, Shannon Keith, stated: “[T]his policy addresses a real deficiency of law and we are so proud to have worked with Assemblyman Dababneh to secure hope and homes for animals that endure so much in our name. No longer will they be hidden away and killed when this tax payer funded research is done.”
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