When we think about animals who wind up in local animal shelters (often called “pounds”), we hope for happy endings. Maybe they’re adopted or returned to their owner. But maybe they’re euthanized because no one wants them. However, how many of us know there is a fourth alternative—they may be sold to biomedical research laboratories.
Following World War II, the search was on for more and more animals for use in biomedical research. One such source that became “obvious” to many was the number of animals languishing in shelters and pounds where they were eventually euthanized to make room for the next group of animals either lost or given up.
Laws were passed in the 1940s and 50s that required states to practice “pound seizure,” meaning pounds and shelters were required to release dogs and cats to biomedical research laboratories. Yes, it was the law to turn these lost and abandoned animals over to these facilities. The belief was that most of the animals sold (or given) to research facilities would be euthanized anyway so why not use them for biomedical research instead.
Today, some of those laws are still in operation, while some states and jurisdictions have repealed them. When you think about it…isn’t it cruel enough that these animals have been abandoned by their owners? Don’t they deserve a better end to their lives than to be turned into research subjects?