In late May 2014, Minnesota made history by enacting a law that offers greater hope of adoption for dogs and cats in research. The bill was sponsored by the Beagle Freedom Project and authored by State Senator Scott Dibble. It provides that any higher education research facility that receives public money, or a facility that does research in collaboration with that facility, must offer all dogs and cats that are used in research and not being euthanized for research purposes to an animal rescue organization. Instead of dogs and cats being needlessly killed because they are no longer needed for a research project, they now have a chance for adoption and a long life in a loving home.
We will be closely monitoring the effects of the law in Minnesota. The law, as written, expires in July 2015. Continuation of the law beyond 2015 will likely hinge on public support and successful adoptions. AWI enthusiastically supports this effort and similar legislation being pursued in California and New York. While in most cases, research protocols will continue to require euthanasia, these laws ensure that when euthanasia is not deemed necessary to complete the study, adoption will now be routinely considered as the first option at the end of an experiment.