A bill to provide cats and dogs formerly used in research laboratories the opportunity to be adopted heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk after passing both chambers of the New York legislature.

The Research Animal Retirement Act, S.98a/A.8361a, requires publicly-funded higher education research facilities to take reasonable steps to provide for the adoption of dogs and cats when they are no longer being used for scientific research. Federal law regulates the care and use of these animals while in laboratories and addresses euthanasia, but does not otherwise offer protection once the research project ends.

Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said, “These dogs and cats deserve to live normal lives as companion animals once their time in the laboratory ends. People who have adopted former research dogs and cats can attest to the resilience and affection of these animals once they are given the chance to flourish in a home environment.”

Sponsored by Sen. Philip M. Boyle (R-Bay Shore) and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D- Manhattan), the bipartisan legislation passed the assembly this week and unanimously in the senate on June 7.

Sen. Boyle said: “I am greatly heartened that the NYS Legislature has passed this bill. The vote speaks to the humanity of this bill, recognizing that all animals, being freed of their testing responsibilities, should be afforded the opportunity of a loving, forever home to live the remainder of their days. The last stop is the desk of Governor Cuomo, whom I implore to sign this bill, making New York State one of the largest states in the union to enact the Research Animal Retirement Act."

Assemblymember Rosenthal said: "Beagles are bred just to become the subject of medical experiments. This bill will ensure that after labs are done with them, they have an opportunity to find a fur-ever home and a measure of happiness with loving families.”

Several states such as California, Minnesota and Connecticut have passed similar legislation, while some research facilities across the U.S. have instituted successful adoption programs for dogs, cats and other animals.

The HSUS urges Governor Cuomo to sign this important animal welfare bill into law.

Media Contacts