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January 26, 2009

Michigan County Urged to Stop Providing Shelter Pets to Research

The Humane Society of the United States

The Montcalm County, Mich. Board of Commissioners will meet at 1 p.m. today to decide whether to continue giving pets to R&R Research, a Class B USDA licensed dealer, which then sells them for research. The Humane Society of the United States has petitioned the board chairman, Patrick Carr, to ask that the animal shelters no longer send homeless pets to laboratories for experimentation. The HSUS also asks that the board use lethal injection instead of continuing to use carbon dioxide as a euthanasia method.

R&R Research is licensed as a Class B dealer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Class B dealers purchase and collect animals from random sources — such as shelters, auctions, flea markets and private individuals — and sell them to laboratories for experimentation. Some Class B dealers have been caught receiving stolen animals or fraudulently obtaining animals, including pets.

"First, the giving away of companion animals for research exposes animals to potentially inhumane conditions and destroys the public's trust in the animal shelter," wrote Kim Intino, director of animal sheltering issues at The HSUS. "Additionally, educational facilities are moving away from using non-human animals and are instead relying on donated human cadavers, models and participation in actual surgeries."

The HSUS considers using gas as a method of euthanasia to be unacceptable in states where euthanasia drugs are legally obtainable. Animal sheltering experts at The HSUS recommend the injection of sodium pentobarbital, prepared specifically for use as a euthanasia product, as the preferred agent for the euthanasia of dogs and cats. 

Inhumane treatment of animals will quickly become public knowledge and can cause serious setbacks to the progress of any animal shelter, and thus a community. The HSUS stands ready to assist the Montcalm County Animal Shelter with these issues and has dedicated resources to help shelters transition away from gas euthanasia to euthanasia by intravenous injection.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org. 

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