California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that from 1st January 2023 will ban the testing of harmful chemicals on dogs and cats. California will become the first state in the US to prevent companies from using companion animals to ascertain their products’ harmful effects (such as pesticides and food additives). The Prohibiting Extraneous Testing Act will not apply to products intended for use on dogs and cats including medicines, such as anaesthesia and cancer treatment.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who authored Senate Bill 879, said to the Los Angeles Times, “For many families, including my own, pets are beloved companions that enrich our lives every day… I’m proud to sign this legislation to advance our state’s leadership on animal welfare by ending cruel and unnecessary testing on dogs and cats, among other measures to protect the health and safety of pets in California…Animal testing that has no scientific value and causes terrible pain and suffering is inhumane, unnecessary, and cruel. The PET Act protects cats and dogs from this type of testing, and helps these animals live long, healthy lives.”
Recently, a federal judge approved a plan to transfer 4,000 beagles from a breeding facility in Virginia to shelters nationwide for adoption after the federal government filed a civil enforcement case in May 2022 against Envigo RMS, which owned and operated the breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia. They were breeding beagles for medical research, but undercover investigations and official inspections discover many animal welfare problems. The use of dogs for this type of research will still be allowed in California, as the ban only covers toxicological testing on dogs and cats, and not any other type of vivisection or research, or tests on other animals such as rats and mice. A total ban on any vivisection experiments of any kind using any animal is what is needed now.