Great news, Green Monsters! A bill (AB147) that would require healthy cats and dogs who were formerly used as lab animals to be made available for loving forever homes, has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in California this week.
This law addresses the problem of a much-needed lack of protection for animals who are used as test subjects in California. The gentle, easygoing, trusting temperament of beagles, in particular, has sadly led to these dogs’ continual exploitation in the world of laboratory and pharmaceutical testing, as researchers know they can carry out any number of harmful procedures on these sweet pooches without fear of retaliation. Beagles have frequently been poisoned with experimental medications, pesticides, or food additives, in order to test their toxicity … with many dogs dying or being left incurably maimed as a result.
In the past, California research labs have been able to quietly have the animals euthanized once they had outlived their “usefulness,” without ever offering up healthy animals for adoption or risking the public outrage that might follow once knowledge of their procedures becoming known.
Now, however, AB147 – authored by Assemblyman Matthew Dababneh, in collaboration with the L.A.-based animal rescue organization Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) – will legally compel these labs to work alongside charitable organizations to help find homes for those animals who are healthy enough. BFP, with their long history of campaigning for the freedom of laboratory animals, has welcomed Governor Brown’s official signature of the bill into law.
Shannon Keith, president of the group, stated: “this policy addresses a real deficiency of law and we are so proud to have worked with Asm. 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.”
On the day that AB147 was signed into law, the state capitol building in Sacramento, Cal., was packed with BFP supporters, including families who have given loving forever homes to lab dogs in the past. Famous attendees included recording artist Sia, comedienne Whitney Cummings, and actress Nikki Reed.
Reed said of her involvement with the BFP campaign: “I was honored to be able to lend my voice and passion to AB147. This law will give countless animals the freedom they deserve after being tested on.”
The bill takes effect on January 1, 2016, and BFP have sworn that they will “keep on top of the laboratories to make sure they are complying with the law.”
This news comes as an enormous boost to all who care about the well-being of the countless numbers of nameless, faceless animals who suffer as a result of needless and cruel tests carried out by the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. California has now become the fourth state to enact legislation requiring that laboratories must attempt to rehome healthy cats and dogs it has discarded, rather than quietly having them killed.
As this announcement comes so soon after the unveiling of an amazing statue in Russia that commemorates the unknown number of rats killed in the name of science, it appears that awareness of what lab animals must endure is slowly but surely growing. Let’s hope that safe, viable alternatives to animal testing will continue to grow more and more commonplace … and that one day, no animals will have to endure horrific suffering and death at our hands again.
All image source: Ben Mason/Flickr