Bills requiring Florida labs to offer test dogs, cats for adoption die without a hearing

Dogs and cats lined up together for a portrait in front of a sea
More than 5,500 animals endured cosmetic trial testing at Florida labs in 2019 alone.

Maybe next year will be luckier for some of Florida’s most unfortunate Fidos and Fluffys.

Legislation requiring facilities in the Sunshine State that conduct animal tests to offer viable cats and dogs up for adoption — rather than killing them — went unheard this Session and died from neglect.

The substantively identical bills (SB 368, HB 1201), sponsored by Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley and Republican Rep. Joel Rudman, were narrowly tailored and substantively identical. Either would have mandated that cosmetics labs and similar facilities skip euthanizing felines and canines if they pose no health or safety risk.

They would instead have had to offer the animals to adoption organizations while being shielded from civil liability, provided they acted “in good faith concerning the health and condition of the dog or cat.”

Facilities noncompliant with the measure would have been liable for an up to $2,000 fine per violation.

The bills would also have required each lab to provide the state with an annual report on the number of animals it owned, used and released to adoption agencies, plus the name of each adoption agency they worked with.

More than 5,500 animals endured cosmetic trial testing at Florida labs in 2019 alone, according to a report last year from the Florida Bar.

The U.S. has no national law prohibiting cosmetic animal testing. Neither does Florida, though some lawmakers — including Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and Kissimmee Democratic Rep. Kristen Arrington — have unsuccessfully tried to change that.

In 2021 and 2022, the University of Florida drew scrutiny and condemnation from animal rights groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for cruel animal testing, including bone marrow surgery and cutting open the neck and chest of unanesthetized cats.

Fifteen percent of the bills Bradley sponsored this year concerned animals. One (HB 849), which she carried with Republican Reps. Sam Killabrew of Winter Haven and James Buchanan of Osprey, passed with uniform support in both chambers of the Legislature. It will enable veterinarians to practice telehealth.

Two others — one that would have allowed Floridians to work as “veterinary professional associates” and another to let volunteer lawyers serve as “animal advocates” in court — were unsuccessful.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 8, 2024 at 7:24 am

    5,500 animals dead, but Mrs Rhonda still look like a racoon.

Comments are closed.


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