A recent law passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton requires that dog and cat adoption should be attempted before euthanasia following experimentation. The colloquial name of the law is “The Beagle Freedom Law”, embedded in an omnibus supplemental appropriations bill. An “animal rescue organization” should be contacted to determine if placement is possible. These “animal rescue organizations” are “any non-profit organization incorporated for the purpose of rescuing animals in need”. The relevant Section 47 (lines 189.11-24) is listed below:
Euthanasia is acceptable if for science, education, or research purposes.
This law is the first of its kind and was championed by the Beagle Freedom Project, states that Beagle dogs are the most common type of research dog. Beagles are can be used for a large variety of experiments, including pain, immunotherapy, cognitive, cardiovascular, toxicity, and other physiological experiments. Dogs and cats make up less than 9% of USDA-covered animals (96,746/1,110,199 in 2012) used per year. The amount of animals that will be adopted instead of humanely euthanized is some fraction less, as only animals healthy enough to be adopted will be offered for adoption. The vast majority of research animals (95%) are mice and rats, meaning that this law will protect a small fraction of research animals in the state.