A bill was just signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requiring that dogs and cats, held at certain research facilities, be offered for adoption through private placement or with non-profit rescue and shelter organizations, when the research project has completed, rather than sending them to be euthanized.
The Governor signed the legislation for Senate Bill S98A on Tuesday. Four Senators were co-sponsors of the Bill, which began working its way through the Legislature in January 2016. According to the TimesUnion, the law takes effect in 60 days.
“This is a humane law that, for these animals, provides the opportunity for a new lease on life,” Governor Cuomo said. “Dogs and cats are like members of the family for many New Yorkers and this action will allow for more four-legged friends to be adopted into a caring home.”
This law gives a voice to animals who may have suffered what amounts to legal torture while they were held prisoner at publicly funded animal research facilities in the State of New York.
State-funded facilities, such as university labs, use animals for research, though the number of universities who use animals for medical education was steadily decreasing, due to public pressure. Last month, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, the last medical school in the U.S. and Canada to use live animals to teach surgery to medical students, announced it was abandoning the practice, “effective immediately.”
Other industries continue to use animals in laboratory settings, so the challenges continue. These laws only mention dogs and cats; no broad provisions have been made for including additional species. The PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) lists a number of legal ways you can help stop animal testing. They have a video and suggestions on their website, here.
The sponsors of the bill, which received unanimous support, stated:
Currently, there are many laws covering the treatment of animals in
labs relating to food, pain management, bedding and enrichment
devices. When the research is complete it is up to the discretion of
lab workers to try to find homes for their canine and feline subjects.
After all that these animals have endured, they deserve the extra
effort by the research facility. This legislation would ensure that
dog and cat testing subjects be afforded the opportunity to live out
their lives in loving homes.
With the signing of this Bill, New York joins four other states in implementing laws that will give these animals an opportunity for normal lives. In 2014, Minnesota was the first state to pass a law similar to this one; that law was known as the Beagle Freedom Bill. This bill went on to be passed in CA, CT and NV. You can learn more about the Beagle Freedom Project and their amazing “Right to Release” efforts to change hearts and minds here. Right now, the Project is looking for your support to get the state of Illinois to adopt their Research Animal Adoption Bill. Please click here for information, and here’s a link to the petition!