Minnesota is the first state – and first political body in the world – to mandate that dogs and cats used in research must be put up for adoption when research is over, instead of being euthanized.
Gov. Mark Dayton made animal rights history when he signed the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill, which contains the Beagle Freedom Law. The law says that taxpayer-funded research facilities will place healthy dogs and cats up for adoption with registered nonprofit animal rescues when they're no longer needed for research.
The Beagle Freedom Project, which has been pushing for such laws in California, New York and Minnesota, says that before Dayton signed the law, no federal or state laws had offered protection to the animals and standard operating procedure for most labs was to euthanize the dog or cat, according to a news release.
There are nearly 65,000 dogs used in testing across the U.S., including about 3,000 dogs in 13 different laboratories in Minnesota, KSTP reports.
The Beagle Freedom Project partnered with Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, among others, to author the legislation.
The Beagle Freedom Project was named after beagles because it says 95 percent of dogs in lab testing are beagles. Their docile nature and people-pleasing personality make them good test subjects, but also popular family pets – they're one of the top five most popular family dogs in America, the nonprofit notes.
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