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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Help protect pets and shelter animals from being used in research (in Michigan only)

Michigan is considering a bill that would strictly regulate how cats and dogs used for research are obtained.

Under current Michigan law, research facilities and Class B dealers are allowed to obtain cats and dogs from animal shelters. Class B dealers are brokers licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture who obtain animals from “random sources,” such as backyards, auctions, flea markets and animal shelters, and resell them to research facilities.

People bring stray animals to a shelter in the hope of reuniting the pet with its family, and report animal cruelty in the hope that the animal will be rescued and safely sheltered. When an animal shelter sells a cat or dog for research, it is a betrayal of public trust.

Introduced by Rep. Coleman A. Young II (D-District 4), House Bill 5263 would amend sections of the Michigan Dog Law of 1919 to regulate the purchase and sale of random source cats and dogs. The bill prohibits any person, including Class B dealers, research facilities and “bunchers” (unlicensed individuals who collect and sell random source animals), from purchasing, acquiring, selling or making available a random source cat or dog for research or experimentation. The bill specifically eliminates Michigan’s animal control, animal protection shelters, and public animal auctions from releasing a dog or cat for research or experimentation.

The bill will not inhibit medical research, as research facilities will still be able to obtain cats and dogs from licensed dealers or breeders who breed animals for research. However, it is an important step in protecting companion animals and homeless or abused shelter animals by establishing safeguards on how research animals are obtained.

Despite advances that have reduced the use of animals for research, many research facilities continue to conduct experiments and test products on animals. American Humane opposes the surrender of animals by animal shelters and animal control agencies to labs, science and research facilities, or pharmaceutical and educational institutions. All animals in the possession of a shelter or animal control agency should be returned to their rightful owners, placed in suitable homes or humanely euthanized.

Please support this important initiative by contacting your representative!

This action alert is for residents of the following states only: Michigan

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