Lab animals are the unsung heroes of modern medicine. They put their lives, and their health, on the line day in and day out to help doctors and scientists further their research. Their lives are not glamorous, or really very comfortable. They often reach the end without ever having a family to call their own.
A law passed in New York state says that all state-funded research labs must make their dogs and cats available for adoption instead of euthanizing them after testing is complete.
"This is a humane law that, for these animals, provides the opportunity for a new lease on life," says Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "Dogs and cats are like members of the family for many New Yorkers, and this action will allow for more four-legged friends to be adopted into a caring home."
New York is the fifth state to pass the "Beagle Freedom Bill" after Minnesota, California, Connecticut, Nevada, and pending Illinois. The law states that a licensed veterinarian will determine if an animal is suitable for adoption before the pet moves into an animal shelter or rescue to await adoption.
The Beagle Freedom Project lead the crusade to save these brave animals. Named after the dog breed most commonly used in labs, it's making way for the loving dogs to find their forever families outside of life in the lab.
"Most of them have never been outside," says Beagle Freedom manager Lorna Campbell.
While the law may provide a "new lease" for cats and dogs, lab rats and bunnies are still awaiting their day.