ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton made worldwide animal rights history by signing the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill (HF 3172), which contains the groundbreaking Beagle Freedom Law authored by Democratic Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-61). State Representative John Lesch (DFL-66B) previously introduced the companion bill HF 1370. The Beagle Freedom Project, Los Angeles, sponsored this critical piece of legislation in three states so far to ensure research facilities give dogs and cats used in laboratory testing a chance at life after research.
The landmark Minnesota bill, which is the first state to enact the law, facilitates a relationship between taxpayer funded laboratories and educational institutions that use dogs and cats for research and registered nonprofit animal rescues. A key part of the bill is that when the animals are no longer needed, they can be placed up for adoption.
“We are overjoyed that Governor Dayton signed this bill into law ensuring that countless dogs and cats have a chance to go to forever homes when their research experience is over,” said Shannon Keith, founder and president of the Beagle Freedom Project. “We expect that this is the beginning of many celebrations as other states follow suit.” On April 28th of this year, the California Beagle Freedom Bill (AB: 2431) passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee, progressing to the Appropriations Committee.
Across the U.S, there are nearly 65,000 dogs being used to test cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and household products with little to no hope of getting out alive. Keith said that 96 percent of dogs used in research laboratories are beagles, one of the top five most popular family dog breeds in America. Beagles are the breed of choice for the same personality traits that make them great family additions: they are docile, people-pleasing, forgiving and easy to care for.
Until now, none of the laws covering laboratory animals addressed the opportunity of adopting them post-research. “Despite their sad beginnings, with love and nurturing, these amazing dogs can become loving family members,” Keith said.