Ahh, the Beagle Freedom Law. This new piece of legislation was crammed among the massive Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill (Article 13 Sec. 47), which also hits on subjects like early childhood education, funding for regenerative medical research, student loan refinancing, disaster assistance contingency funds, and extending University of Minnesota’s alcohol service just to name a few. The research animal section of the law is actually pretty simple, and something I don’t think many would find issue with…
Sec. 47. RESEARCH DOGS AND CATS. (a) A higher education research facility that receives public money or a facility that provides research in collaboration with a higher education facility that confines dogs or cats for science, education, or research purposes and plans on euthanizing a dog or cat for other than science, education, or research purposes must first offer the dog or cat to an animal rescue organization… (b) For the purposes of this section, “animal rescue organization” means any nonprofit organization incorporated for the purpose of rescuing animals in need and finding permanent, adoptive homes for the animals. (x)
I mean, there is nothing particularly incendiary right there. Dogs and cats that can be placed for adoption after a study ends should be allowed to find permanent homes. Sounds good, although I can’t help but have some questions… Questions like, can we consider all “animal rescue organizations” equal? Do they all have indoor / outdoor exercise areas? Do they have vet care on staff? Are they No Kill Shelters? Even if they aren’t, do they have room for these perspective pets? Will potential owners be screened for any particular care or social requirements these former lab dogs require? The list of questions can go on and on. And of course anyone who has ever visited an overcrowded shelter knows the answers here.
But let’s be optimistic and pretend that we don’t have to worry about these questions for a minute. When looking at the Beagle Freedom Project website a few things immediately strike me.