SAN DIEGO—San Diego Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign Senate Bill 879 to end unnecessary toxicological testing on dogs and cats. SB 879, the Prohibiting Extraneous Testing (PET) Act, will ban needless toxicity testing on dogs, like the 108 beagles who arrived at San Diego Humane Society on Aug. 31, for products such as pesticides, chemical substances and food additives.
The PET Act, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, will be the first of its kind in the nation. The bill was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States—the organization responsible for removing approximately 4,000 beagles from Envigo RMS LLC’s breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which supplied laboratories that test on animals. The Humane Society of the United States was approached by the U.S. Department of Justice to remove the beagles after a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice in May detailed horrific violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the facility. One hundred and eight of those beagles were transported to San Diego Humane Society on Aug. 31 to get the second chances they deserve.
The beagles were bred specifically for experimentation. Had they not been removed, most of them were headed for a life of suffering in laboratories where they may have been force-fed drugs, pesticides or other substances, and then observed for harmful effects such as heart failure, signs of cancer, or even death. Despite this suffering, testing on dogs does not ensure safety for humans. The process of testing on animals has scientific limitations that never will improve while non-animal methods are continually proving to be more accurate.
“I’m proud to welcome 108 of these amazing beagles to California,” said Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. “Thank you, Humane Society of the United States, for your incredible work. These beagles are a perfect example of why we need to ban unnecessary testing on dogs and cats. Animals deserve to live long and healthy lives.”
“Dogs who undergo toxicity testing suffer terribly and are kept in steel cages, often alone,” said San Diego Humane Society president and CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman. “Advances in technology are offering alternative methods that are more affordable, more predictive and clearly less harmful to animals. As more alternatives to animal testing are identified for all areas of research and we move closer to a time when no animals are used for toxicity testing, California can be a leader now by enacting SB 879.”
“We applaud California for being the first state in the nation to prohibit certain testing on dogs and cats and we urge Governor Newsom to sign this historic bill into law,” says Jenny Berg, California state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “But there is more work to be done, including prohibiting testing of pharmaceuticals on dogs in the state. California has proven to be an extremely humane state by the bills we have passed. I know that we can be the first state to ban all testing on dogs and be a model for the rest of the nation in prioritizing science over suffering.”
After arriving in San Diego on Aug. 31, all 108 beagles were transported to San Diego Humane Society’s El Cajon Campus, where they were medically evaluated and vaccinated. Since then, the organization has placed approximately 50 of the beagles with local rescue partners. The other beagles will remain with San Diego Humane Society, where they are in foster homes until they can be spayed or neutered and made available for adoption. Members of the community can learn more about the beagles, or make a donation to SDHS.
- Emily Snow Ehrhorn
- SDHS: Nina Thompson