Massachusetts Senate passes bill to promote adoption of research animals

The Massachusetts Senate has adopted a bill that will allow families to adopt research animals once labs have concluded their testing.

An Act Protecting Research Animals, also known as the “Beagle Bill,” requires product testing facilities to spare dogs and cats from automatic euthanasia and offer them for adoption through animal rescue organizations.

“This common-sense legislation protects research animals and ensures that they will receive the dignified care and companionship they deserve, rather than face an early death,” Senate President Karen Spilka said in a statement. “As a lifelong animal lover and owner, I am acutely aware of the importance of this bill and grateful for the advocates and Senators who fought to give voice to those animals who can’t speak for themselves.”

The bill states that the animals must not pose a risk to the public’s safety and that the research institutions will not be held responsible for any injury, property damage, or other damages that might occur as a result of the adoption.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 80,000 cats and dogs are used for research and experimentation annually. Of those, more than 90 percent are dogs, with beagles being the most popular breed due to their easy-going, submissive nature.

“Animals involved in research make a tremendous sacrifice on behalf of our society, and they deserve every opportunity for adoption when their service is completed,” said Senate Minority Leader and bill sponsor Bruce Tarr. “This bill provides that chance for a good life for animals that can be adopted safely and without harm to someone who can give them a good and caring home.”

The bill is currently before the House of Representatives for consideration.

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