Monday, September 9, 2019

“BEAGLE BILL” MOVES CLOSER TO ADOPTION

Former Laboratory Animals May Find Forever Homes 

BOSTON- Tuesday, a legislative committee will hear testimony from a variety of stakeholders on legislation that will create “life after the lab” opportunities for animals used in research facilities in Massachusetts.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be joined by Representative Carolyn Dykema, James O’Reilly, President of the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research, Kara Holmquist, Director of Advocacy Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others committed to supporting an adoption alternative bill in testifying before the legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

“Dogs and other animals involved in research in Massachusetts are making tremendous sacrifices to save our lives and make us healthier. In turn, we have a moral imperative to give them the opportunity for better lives when their research involvement is concluded,” said Senator Tarr.

A similar proposal was approved by the committee and was adopted by the state Senate last session. The new packet of bills, Senate 534, House 764, and House 758, all entitled an Act Protecting Research Animals, are being heard Tuesday at the State House public hearing. Several former research beagles have been invited to be at the front steps of the State House.

“As an adoptive pet owner myself, I know how much love these animals can share with a forever family,” said Representative Carolyn Dykema. “This bill is a step toward providing a brighter future for these animals who have made such great sacrifices. I’m proud to join my colleagues Representative DuBois and Senator. Tarr in supporting bipartisan, common-sense policy that brings animal rescue organizations and research institutions together to place these animals in loving homes. This is truly a bill we can all feel good about."

According to Senator Tarr, steady progress has been made toward new consensus legislation among the parties to work towards creating opportunities for adoption for retired lab animals.

This is common-sense legislation that respects the need to adopt dogs and cats out to loving homes once their time in the lab comes to an end,” said Representative Michelle DuBois.  “It’s my hope that 2019 will be the year we see this become law.”    
              
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandates that new drugs must first involve trials using animals. Product developers also often include testing with animals. Most animal testing facilities rely on dogs – the vast majority of which are beagles. Renown for being docile and easy-going, the beagle breed has become a central component of research laboratory testing. These same qualities also make them excellent candidate to become household pets.

“I look forward to testifying before the committee and working with my colleagues, I anticipate that we can provide a path forward that we can all be proud of,” said Tarr.