Animal Experimentation At Colleges: Adoption Mandates


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Last Updated on April 10, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
 
Animal experimentation occurs in many places, including public and private colleges.  Cats and dogs are used as test subjects in colleges and universities daily.  People often think of rats, mice and primates as animals used in research, but typical “pets” are sadly also used.  What happens to the animals if they are still well AFTER a public college is through with them?  Are they euthanized or do they have to be placed up for adoption?  It depends on their condition.
 
Animals Suitable for Adoption Must Be Offered for Adoption
 
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Animals experimented on by colleges must be placed up for adoption

Per California Education Code §66017.7, animals which are “suitable for adoption” after the school is through with them, do not have to be put to death.  Rather, they are to be placed up for adoption by the college or given to an adoption agency to place.
This section states in part:
 
“(a) A public postsecondary educational institution or independent institution of higher education, or employee or student thereof, that confines dogs or cats for the purposes set forth in Section 1650 of the Health and Safety Code, if the institution assesses the health of an animal and determines, after the completion of any testing or research, that the animal is suitable for adoption, the animal’s destruction is not required, and the animal is no longer needed, and if the institution’s existing procedures for adopting the animal do not result in an adoption, shall offer the dogs or cats to an animal adoption organization or animal rescue organization for adoption prior to euthanizing those animals. A public postsecondary educational institution or independent institution of higher education that is required to offer dogs or cats to an animal adoption organization or animal rescue organization under this section may enter into an agreement with an animal adoption organization or animal rescue organization for the implementation of this section.”
 
This does not prevent experimentation, but forces adoption options after the tests are through.  It also prevents the unnecessary euthanizing of healthy cats and dogs.  If a college or university is done with a dog or cat, and there is no reason the pet MUST be killed, the school is required to offer the cat or dog to an adoption agency to place if the college cannot find the animal a new home.

Animals Experimented On May Find A New Home

All creatures have an urge to survive and this law at least, is something.  Maybe these animals can find a home where tummy rubs, not needles, are used to stimulate them.
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Animals colleges experimented on may be loving pets
Agricultural Animals Excluded
 
These requirements do not apply to animals listed in Food and Agriculture Code 17006 which references animals that are ill and may not be healed, or newborn animals who were “impounded without their mothers.” 
 
I have gotten all my pets from local adoption groups and love every one of them.  I don’t think any of my animals were experimented on at a college or university.  Hopefully college-discarded cats and dogs will find loving homes when released from our local universities, maybe even with you.