History was made today. Minnesota has become the first state in the U.S. and first political body in the world to mandate that laboratory dogs and cats be adopted when the research is over. The once far-fetched idea that these animals deserve a life after the labs has fast become a public expectation and now is officially a law.
This law is simple, compassionate, and common-sense. If a dog or cat is used in a tax-payer funded research experiment and is healthy at its end the lab must offer them up to public adoption through a rescue organization like Beagle Freedom Project. No federal or state laws offer any protection to these animals when the research is over and the standard operating procedure for most labs was to summarily euthanize them… Until today.
Passing this legislation into law has not been easy. It took two legislative sessions, thousands of constituent emails, letters, phone calls, and personal visits to the Capitol. Complimenting this effort was the public ambassador work performed by all the freed beagles living in Minnesota demonstrating they are not test subjects, but wonderful family companions. They literally lobbied for their caged brothers and sisters! Public events and media stories raised this awareness and the pressure needed to get this law passed.
This issue could not have had a better advocate than the legendary Senator Scott Dibble. His valiance and determination to see this bill passed into law was fed by a hunger deep in his heart to do right by these dogs. It was his political skill that saw this bill get through its dark days and long nights. It was his patient resolve that won this idea unanimous bi-partisan support in every committee appearance. Every dog deserves his day, and thanks to Senator Dibble’s authorship of this law – they will get it.
Joining Senator Dibble in support of this law was a group of remarkable legislators that put their names, time, skills, and hearts on the line. They are our unsung heroes who deserve recognition. Senator Dick Cohen (Conference Committee champion), Representative John Lesch (House Author of the law), Representative Tim Huntley (Author of the House Bill), Senator Patricia Torres Ray (Senate Co-Author), Senator Jim Carlson (Co-Author), Representative Raymond Dehn, Representative Frank Hornstein, Representative Paul Rosenthal, Representative Susan Allen, Representative Rick Hansen, and Representative Joe Radinovich: We hope the sight of newly freed beagles running, sniffing, playing, and being their silly selves serves as fitting tribute to your hard and heartfelt work these last two sessions.
A big thank you also goes out to our two tireless lobbyists, Larry and Todd, who went above and beyond in their advocacy for this issue. No other professionals could have represented BFP better.
This is the signature piece of legislation for Beagle Freedom Project and is currently being pursued in California (AB 2431) and New York (S7475) and more states in 2015!