Legislators OK bill to push for adoption of research animals
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by House Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio to ensure that dogs and cats used as test subjects at higher education research facilities in Rhode Island be afforded an opportunity to live out their lives in loving homes. The bill, which passed the Assembly yesterday, will now go to the governor.
The Research Animal Retirement Act (2018-H 7414, 2018-S 2980) would require higher education research facilities, upon completion of any research involving a dog or cat, to determine whether the animal is adoptable. If it is, the facility must make reasonable efforts to offer the animal for adoption, instead of euthanizing it. Facilities could work with shelters or agencies that seek adoptive homes for pets.
“These research animals have endured a lifetime of suffering in order to help us humans lead a healthier and longer life. The least we can do is to provide them with a mechanism for adoption as a small thank you for their suffering in the name of science,” said Representative Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence). “The least they deserve is a chance at a happy and peaceful end of their life. This legislation will give them that chance.”
Similar legislation has been passed in California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Nevada and New York and is presently pending in several other states.
“The practice of euthanizing research animals once they’ve outlived their usefulness is an abhorrent one,” said President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “It’s not only inhumane; it’s unthinkable. This legislation will establish and encourage a process of adoption for these animals — some of which have endured a lifetime of misery.”
Legislators received visits at the State House from a four-legged advocate for the bill — Tucker, a friendly beagle who was adopted after serving as a research animal — when the legislation was heard in House and the Senate committees, and when the bill passed the House in April.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903