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On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law bipartisan legislation called the Beagle Act that would require animal research and testing facilities in Massachusetts to use dogs and cats to provide healthy animals in order to They were adopted during the study. ended.

Bill H. 901, a bill to protect research animals, was enacted in July by both houses of the state legislature and submitted to the governor for approval.

Now, Massachusetts joins a dozen other states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York, with similar laws that go beyond federal regulations for handling laboratory animals after research, according to MSPCA-Angell. Following the passage of the bill, a spokesman said the group was “very pleased” with the outcome.

According to Rob Halpin, MSPCA-Angell’s executive director of communications, the signing of the bill marks a “life-saving moment” for the nearly 9,000 dogs in Massachusetts, most of them beagles, used in research.

He added that once the study period for the dogs was over, they would “usually” face euthanasia – a law that would change that.

The care and use of research animals in the laboratory is regulated under current federal law, but beyond providing humane euthanasia, protections do not extend beyond the end of the study – leaving the possibility of otherwise healthy dogs and cats , these animals can be given as pets in Chapter 2 of Life, but will be killed instead.

That’s where the Beagle Act comes in to facilitate relationships between laboratories and nonprofit animal adoption organizations, according to MSPCA-Angell, which also notes that there is flexibility in the law as well.

The group said the bill was written in such a way that research institutions would not be compelled to provide animals to any particular group and shelters for rescue groups would not be required to accept animals provided to them by such institutions.

Private adoptions are also permitted within the law, meaning the shelter does not have to act as an intermediary – such as in the case of a veterinary technician who has worked with an animal and wants to adopt it after research.

The bill would “only require that, once the agency determines that a dog or cat that is no longer required for research is healthy and does not pose a risk to the health or safety of the public, the research agency must reach out to an animal shelter or rescue organization to determine Whether it can assist with placement in an adoptive family, or opt for a private placement,” MSPCA-Angell said.

Halpin said the successful collaboration between the research and testing agency and animal shelters and rescue groups such as MSPCA will give many cats and dogs “the opportunity to spend their post-study life in loving homes.”

Kara Holmquist, MSPCA’s director of advocacy, said in seeing and hearing stories from those who adopted or raised dogs used in research, the “resilient” animals did “remarkably well” at home after leaving these research settings.

“We know these dogs can make great family pets, and they can still learn to be a dog,” Holmquist said.

According to Holmquist, terriers were the main breed used in the study, largely because of their docile nature and ease of handling, giving the bill its informal name.

The breed includes nearly 96 percent of the more than 60,000 dogs used in animal testing nationwide, according to the Beagle Freedom Project, a nonprofit animal rescue and advocacy organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals used in research , and subject to “other forms of unique cruelty, abuse, and neglect.”

The bill’s signing into law is timely as it coincides with a large-scale rescue effort led by the Humane Society of the United States involving a struggling breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which is operated by Envigo with approximately 4,000 terriers Originally to be used for animal research, but is now looking for a new adoptive home.

According to The New York Times, the Envigo facility faced numerous violations of federal regulations that resulted in many of the dogs “underfed, sick, injured, and in some cases even killed.”

MSPCA-Angell, Northeast Animal Shelter, and the Dakin Humane Society are all assisting HSUS as partners, helping it find more than 150 new adoptive homes for Beagles in the Bay State, and planning more pick-up trips to bring the dogs north This month.

The Beagle Act was originally introduced in Beacon Hill four years ago by the bill’s sponsor, former state representative Caroline Dikma, and co-sponsored by Democrats in the House of Representatives. Michelle DuBois and Republican State Senator Bruce Tull — Minority Leader in the State House Senate.

“We thank every advocate who has worked hard to advance this legislation,” Elizabeth Magner, MSPCA’s animal advocacy expert, said in a statement through MSPCA-Angell.

“By formalizing the adoption of research animals, the new law benefits dogs and cats federally used in research, enhancing Massachusetts’ reputation as a center for responsible and humane biomedical research,” she added.

The bill also has the backing of the Massachusetts Medical Research Association, which represents research institutions in the state, an organization that helped develop some of the bill’s language.

The legislation also does not affect the research itself, as the discretion of when to withdraw and offer animals for adoption remains at the research facility’s discretion, according to MSPCA-Angell.

Beyond the legislation, MSPCA-Angell noted, there are several research institutes that have developed successful adoption programs for dogs and cats.

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