A bill has been working its way through the California legislature that would, if passed, reduce the fallout from using animals in labs. In February, they introduced a bill that would require university laboratories to put healthy cats and dogs up for adoption when their work is completed. That bill advanced to the Senate, which passed it. Now, it goes back to the Assembly for approval of amendments, according to an August 20, 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times.
This bill applies to all labs that receive public funding, which includes the university labs. These animals, once their state of health is determined, would be sent to non-profit shelters and rescues for adoption, instead of being euthanized, as has been common practice.
It seems like this would further burden overcrowded shelters and rescues. However, an article in The Huffington Post says that this would apply to probably 100 dogs, and 100 cats, per year, across the entire state. HuffPo spoke to Brandy Kuentzel, director of advocacy for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who said that they have the resources to rehome these dogs and cats. She said, “So why not?”
They’re also good at being able to place such animals. Kuentzel said that she doesn’t foresee many animals getting turned away with such a program.
One Green Planet cites figures from PETA, which say that more than 22,000 cats are abused in labs each year, just in the U.S. They also discuss one of the organizations instrumental in getting the California bill passed, known as the Beagle Freedom Project. While that group’s focus is on beagles (which are the most popular dog for labs because of their size), they’ve worked to free other animals as well.
One Green Planet says that the Beagle Freedom Project has been forming relationships with labs, so that they can better ensure happy endings for the healthy animals once tests are complete. This is a huge part of their work to raise awareness of the problems with animal testing.
Here’s what animal testing can do to cats: One cat, named Xander, who was rescued from a New York lab along with four other cats, may have suffered from neurological problems after arriving at his caregiver’s home. She’s not sure whether the lab had done something to his brain, or if his strange behavior was learned in the lab. Thankfully, he recovered, and has begun learning how to be a real cat, according to One Green Planet.
His story is one of thousands all across the country. The California bill is a small step in the right direction. Finding homes for adoptable animals that have been subjected to testing of all sorts will help to further raise awareness of this problem. Hopefully, California will pass this bill and take this step as soon as possible.