10 states now encourage adoption of research dogs into loving homes

By on May 31, 2019 with 7 Comments

It is a bleak life for the approximately 60,000 dogs and 20,000 cats used in testing and research in U.S. laboratories each year. In March, we revealed the sad plight of some of these animals when we did an undercover investigation at a contract laboratory in Michigan that was testing pesticides, drugs, dental implants and more on beagles and hounds. The dogs we encountered, much like all animals used in research, were born in facilities that breed dogs specifically for use in research, testing and education. In the course of testing, they endured such treatment as having chemicals poured into their chests and devices implanted into their bodies. Once testing was over, the animals were euthanized.

These animals spent almost every hour of their short lives behind bars in cold steel cages, never knowing what it is like to play fetch or lie in the sun or roll over happily for a belly rub.

Most Americans would agree that this is no life for a companion animal, and that’s certainly our view. Our Animal Research Issues campaign and our state directors have been working to pass legislation that gives dogs and cats used in research an opportunity to live life as adopted pets once their time in the laboratories has come to an end. I am excited to report that 10 states, including Minnesota, Maryland, New York, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Illinois and Nevada, have passed such laws in just the last five years, with Washington the latest to do so after its legislature passed a bill last month.

Those who have adopted former research dogs and cats can attest to the resilience and affection of these animals once they are given the chance to flourish in a home environment. Above, Teddy with Greta Guest, who adopted him in April. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/AP Images for the HSUS

Michigan is also considering such a bill, and so are Oregon, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Recently, Teddy, one of the beagles who was part of our undercover investigation, and who was used in an unnecessary one-year pesticide test contracted by Dow Agrosciences (Corteva Agriscience), was at the Michigan statehouse, lobbying for HB 4496, there. Teddy was released from the laboratory as a result of our investigation and was adopted into a loving home through the Michigan Humane Society.

The state bills address a deficiency in the law, which regulates the care and use of research animals while they are in the laboratory, but does not offer any protection to the animals once the research projects end, other than mandating humane euthanasia. States that have passed the laws facilitate an open relationship between research laboratories and non-profit animal adoption and rescue organizations. Together, they can work to place the animals after testing is over. This should be a no-brainer, and we are excited to see more and more states adopting these commonsense laws.

Teddy’s family says he loves to romp with his beagle sister, Cleo. Photo by Bryan Mitchell/AP Images for the HSUS

There is a new bill in Congress too, the Humane Retirement Act H.R. 2850, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., that would ensure that dogs and cats used in testing or research being carried out by federal facilities within the Department of Health and Human Services are adopted into suitable homes.

Those who have adopted former research dogs and cats can attest to the resilience and affection of these animals once they are given the chance to flourish in a home environment. Teddy’s family says he took some time to bark but is finding his voice and loves to romp with his beagle sister, Cleo. In fact, all 32 of the beagles who were released in the aftermath of our investigation have gone on to find homes.

Our goal at the HSUS is to end all harmful research on animals. Until that day arrives, we need to ensure that dogs and cats in laboratories get an opportunity to move on to happier lives at least after the testing is over. Please join us in asking your representative in Congress to support the Humane Retirement Act. And if you live in Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts or New Jersey, please place a polite call to your state legislators and ask them to support bills giving dogs and cats used in research a much-deserved second lease on life.

Animal Research and Testing, Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Kathleen Bossart says:

    This country just INFURIATES me that they would let the abuse of dogs and cats go on. IAm SURE THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO TEST THINGS LIKE THIS with out TORTUREING ANIMALS . It really pisses me off.

    • Lynn Jenkin says:

      I am with you Kathleen and agree 100% with your comment. I am disgusted that a country like America allows dogs to be treated this way. It is cruel and the suffering they must endure is sickening. Lynn from Australia

    • Cathy sunshine says:

      Yes there are many ways to test products but they feel it’s easier to drag a Animal in and torture it they should be tortured how do they sleep at night.

    • Melissa says:

      I am totally with you!! They shouldn’t just be allowed to be adopted out after research is over, it SHOULD NEVER happen to begin with!! No animal should ever have to be used as test subject for anything.

  2. Valerie Kewley says:

    I live in Michigan and would love to adopt one of these babies! I have a female dog now and she would love a sister!

  3. Glenda Hibbert says:

    Wonderful article. Many of us have the question, ‘why not try passing a bill that would stop animal testing altogether?’ This article addresses that question, and how getting states to release lab animals rather than euthanizing them, is just another small step that needs to be made in order to reach our final goal – no more animal testing.

  4. Lisa Sicari says:

    This is not surprising to me. Though our country thrives because of capitalism and it is good, there are people willing to do anything for profit. Financial gain is not the only measuring stick of success. Sadly, all of these sweet little creatures suffer in their pursuit of wealth. It is an indication of their spiritual condition, however. Anyone that could not only hear the cries of a defenseless animal but participate in the torture that results in their agony is surely dead inside. There is ‘something’ missing. I know there are some who quite enjoy what they do; inflicting pain and suffering. How sad is that. That is not good. That is evil. I feel compassion for those people too, though. They are truly unhappy, miserable and ignorant of their wretched condition. They are blinded by the chase. $$ is the only thing they see.

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