Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal’s Beagle Freedom Bill Becomes Law

Law will require adoption before euthanasia for research animals
November 16, 2016
New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) today announced that her bill, the Beagle Freedom Bill, A. 8261-A, which would require beagles and other dogs and cats used in scientific research, to be considered for adoption before being euthanized, was signed into law by the Governor.

“Now that this bill has become law, research animals will finally have a chance at a second life,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “Research animals live their lives being poked and prodded by humans, purposefully made sick to keep us well, and they are deprived of the affection and human kindness that many dogs enjoy. After this long and often tortuous service, they are usually euthanized, ending a miserable existence.”

Though many species of animal are used in medical research, beagles are specifically bred for research because of their docility, and are currently used in scientific, medical and product research by educational institutions across the state and country. While some educational institutions maintain voluntary adoptions programs, this bill will require all educational institutions that use dogs or cats in research to institute mandatory adoption programs.

The bill, which was sponsored by Phil Boyle in the State Senate, will take effect in 30 days, and will require a licensed veterinarian to determine whether the beagle or other animal is medically suitable for adoption. The animal can then be offered either to a licensed shelter organization or private individual.

“Research beagles, just like any other animal, deserve a chance at finding their fur-ever home, and this law will ensure that they get that chance,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

“When I first introduced the Research Animal Retirement Act over two years ago, I hoped that we would see this day. I commend Governor Cuomo for signing into law this measure which will allow Research Animals in New York State to find loving homes after their testing lives. I urge all New Yorkers thinking about adopting a dog or cat to consider these beautiful research animals who have given us so much,” said Senator Phil Boyle.

Michael Barrett and Mitch Lippman, Assemblymember Rosenthal’s constituents, and proud adoptive parents of Riley, a research beagle they rescued with the help of the Beagle Freedom Project, were thrilled with the news. “As Native New Yorkers, we are proud that our state is among the first to enact this law. We can attest to the fact that loving and nurturing families can offer new life for these animals. We hope other states follow New York’s leadership, preventing the senseless euthanizing of animals after tests are completed.”

Kevin Chase, spokesperson for Beagle Freedom Project, proclaimed, “This policy addresses a real deficiency of law and we are so proud to have worked with Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Phil Boyle to secure hope and homes for animals that endure so much in our name. No longer will they be hidden away and killed when these experiments are finished.”

“This is a great step forward for New York, for research animals and for our state’s animal shelters,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation which represents the state’s network of humane societies, SPCAs and animal shelters. “We look forward to partnering with research facilities across the state to make sure retired research companion animals find the loving homes they deserve.”

“The Humane Society of the United States strongly supports both animal protection and public health. We applaud Governor Cuomo for signing the Research Animal Retirement Act, which will help provide opportunities for dogs and cats to live life in a home as an adopted pet once their time in the laboratory has come to an end,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for The HSUS. “We also commend the bill’s sponsors, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Philip M. Boyle for championing this life-saving legislation.”