Assembly OKs 'beagle bill;' puts lab animals up for adoption

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Assembly passed the "beagle bill" Monday, requiring laboratories to put dogs and cats up for adoption when they're done performing research on them.

The Assembly voted 40-1 on Monday to pass SB261, which was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Manendo. A weaker version of the bill already passed the Senate.

"It's just critical to stand up for these animals," said Republican Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, who supported the measure. "I think it's great we can use them for testing to save humans, but they deserve to have a good life when they're finished."

Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards was the lone vote against the measure. He said the issue should have been handled at the local level.

The measure requires private labs and those run by colleges and universities to offer animals up for adoption before euthanizing them as long as they are healthy enough to go to a new home. Many of the dogs used in such testing are beagles because they are a compliant breed.

Manendo said that if the bill passes, it will be the strongest such law in the nation. The next-strongest statute, in Minnesota, only governs colleges and universities and is temporary.

The bill was watered down before it passed the Senate, but most of its provisions were restored when it moved to the Assembly. The Senate still must concur with the amended version.

Activists opposed to animal testing have backed the measure as a move toward a more comprehensive ban.

"I see it as one step toward ending all animal testing on any animal in this state, whatsoever," said Republican Assemblyman John Moore.

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