The new year will bring new opportunities for rescue animals, thanks to Oregon Senate Bill 638. The legislation was first proposed by a fifth-grade class at Elmonica Elementary School in Beaverton, inspired by the California-based Beagle Freedom Project.
Effective January 1, the bill requires research laboratories to offer test animals that are no longer in use to adoption agencies, so long as euthanization is not required for health or safety purposes. Research facilities will also be required to provide annual reports to the secretary of state, disclosing their total number of test animals vs. the number in use and the number put up for adoption.
While no species are named in the bill itself, according to the Oregon Legislative Information System SB 638 is primarily aimed at dogs and cats, which represented less than one percent of the roughly 8,000 test animals in Oregon as of 2017.
In an interview with OPB, Kelly Peterson, Oregon’s state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said “Dogs and cats in Oregon research facilities deserve the chance to live as pets once their time in the laboratory ends. Many who have adopted former research dogs and cats can attest to the resilience and affection of these animals once they are given the chance to flourish in a home environment.”
By Brandon Urey