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California Senate Bill Will Prohibit Testing on Domestic Animals

June 7, 2021

The California Senate passed SB 252, which prohibits toxicity testing on dogs and cats not required by law, by a vote of 30-1. Led by Senator Scott Weiner, the bill now goes to the California Assembly for consideration.

“The citizens of California are being heard, and in a historic step, the Senate has voted to end toxicity testing on dogs,” said Sabrina Ashjian, California State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Californians have been trailblazers for creating a more humane world for animals. Dogs used for toxicity testing are subjected to painful experiments, and I am incredibly thankful to Senator Weiner for paving the way to make our state the first in the nation to put an end to this suffering.”

More than 60,000 dogs are used each year for testing and research at some 350 private, public and federal facilities. Most of these dogs come from breeding facilities licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, housing more than 22,000 dogs for commercial sale to laboratories.

For over 100 days the Humane Society of the United States [HSUS] conducted an undercover investigation into one of the world’s largest contract research organization and animal testing laboratory where thousands of dogs are killed every year in toxicity and other tests.

What the HSUS discovered was shocking. Beagles and hounds from two massive dog breeding companies – Marshall BioResources and Covance – were used to test a variety of substances.  Some of the dogs were killed within days of arriving at the laboratory. Others were confined to stainless steel cages. Some dogs were used in a year-long pesticide test that is universally considered scientifically unnecessary.

The investigator found that fungicides were force fed to 36 beagles for a period of one year.  There are approximately 38 testing requirements and for each new active ingredient in a pesticide, more than 10,000 animals are killed.

SB 252 would prohibit a testing facility, from conducting a canine or feline toxicological experiment. This is defined as any test or study of any duration that seeks to determine the effect of the application or exposure of any amount of a chemical substance on a dog or cat  unless the experiment is conducted for specified purposes, including medical research, or to comply with federal requirements pertaining to the approval or maintenance of a medical device. The bill would authorize the Attorney General, the district attorney of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred, or the city attorney in certain instances to bring a civil action for a violation of these provisions, punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each day that each dog or cat is used in a canine or feline toxicological experiment.

Existing law prohibits manufacturers and contract testing facilities from using traditional animal test methods within the state of California. Existing law exempts certain animal tests from these provisions, including animal tests performed for the purpose of medical research which SB 252 will prohibit.

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