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Research Animals Must Be Offered For Adoption, New Law Says

This group of beagles has been used for medical testing.
This group of beagles has been used for medical testing. Photo Credit:

Animal lovers across the state are celebrating new legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday requiring that cats and dogs used for research by colleges be offered for adoption through private placement or shelter organizations. 

“This is a humane law that, for these animals, provides the opportunity for a new lease on life,” Cuomo said. “Dogs and cats are like members of the family for many New Yorkers, and this action will allow for more four-legged friends to be adopted into a caring home.” 

The bill requires animals be deemed suitable for adoption by the attending veterinarian at the research facility. Once the research involving these dogs and cats is completed, academic institutions would then make them available to local shelters, animal rescue centers and Humane Societies so they can be adopted. 

Numerous animals in New York are currently suitable for adoption at research institutions, yet because of barriers in the placement process, animals may instead be euthanized. 

The new legislation will save the lives of countless cats and dogs by placing them with authorized animal protective associations, which will manage their care and ensure their well-being throughout the adoption process. 

“Federal law regulates the care and use of research animals while they are in the laboratory but does not offer any protection once the research project ends," said Brian Shapiro, New York director for The Humane Society of the United States. "We’re pleased that New York has made this important move to promote the adoption of dogs and cats formerly used for research. This law will bring untold happiness to these animals and the families who adopt them.”

According to Shaprio, in 2013 (the latest numbers available), there were 3,522 dogs and 1,305 cats in New York publicly funded institutions and colleges being used for research purposes.

He said the number of animals euthanized at the facilities annually is known only by the laboratories themselves.

Shaprio said similar programs in California and Minnesota and other states have been very successful.

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