Legislative Update: Beagle Freedom

May 28, 2014

beagleI don’t mean to brag (ok, maybe I do), but my home state has done it again. I recently told you about trail-blazing legislation here in Minnesota requiring labeling of plants that have been treated with bee-killing neonicotinoids. Well, the state legislature is back at it. This week, Governor Mark Dayton signed Minnesota’s Beagle Freedom bill into law, the first of its kind in the U.S.

Nationwide, 65,000 dogs are summarily euthanized after they serve their scientific purpose of testing the effectiveness, toxicity, and other less-than-pleasant aspects of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and various household products. The vast majority of these dogs are beagles due to this breed’s best-known traits: they are highly driven to please their humans, incredibly forgiving, have relatively low energy, and are easy to care for. While these traits have sentenced countless beagles and their fellow canids to a death sentence, in Minnesota they are now guaranteed a chance at life after the lab.

The law essentially requires tax-payer funded researchers to offer up domestic animals for public adoption upon termination of the testing. Research groups are directed to contact an animal rescue organization in the hopes that the rescue group can quickly place the former test subjects with adoptive families. Unfortunately, neither the legislation nor the groups working to place these dogs and cats can guarantee that all will find happy endings (that part is up to adopters like you and me), but the mere chance this legislation guarantees is an incredibly important step in the right direction for these animals – most of whom have never seen grass before, much less had the opportunity to play.

So I lift my (metaphorical – I’m at work you guys) glass to you, Minnesota, for once again showing what a fabulous conscience this state has!


Section 47 of Minnesota House File No. 3172 reads:


(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.  A facility that is required to offer dogs or cats to an animal rescue organization under this section may enter into an agreement with the animal rescue organization to protect the facility.  A facility that provides a dog or cat tot a rescue organization under this section is immune from any civil liability that otherwise might result from its actions, provided that the facility is acting in good faith.

(b)   For the purposes of this section, “animal rescue organization” means any nonprofit organization incorporated for the purpose of rescuing animals in need and funding permanent, adoptive homes for the animals.

(c)    This section expires July 1, 2015.

Other states considering similar bills include New York (SB 7475) and California (AB 2431). To search for these and similar bills, try the following in proposed and adopted legislation:

adv: research /s dog /100 rescue shelter /s offer!