SPRINGFIELD — Legislation to improve the adoption process for research dogs and cats has been approved by the Illinois Senate. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, introduced legislation that would require public research institutions in Illinois to have an adoption policy in place for healthy dogs and cats used in testing.

“Last General Assembly, the ‘Beagle Freedom Bill’ sparked an important debate,” Holmes said. “We ended up needing to go back and fix a few problems with the bill to bring it back this year. The current measure reflects all of that work. It ensures that an animal is given a chance at a life outside of a laboratory, and it does so without overregulating scientific research.”

The Illinois legislation does not force research institutions to find a home for each animal, nor does it ban euthanasia outright. It requires publicly-funded institutions to have an adoption plan for animals deemed eligible by a veterinarian before euthanasia is an option.

The legislation is part of a nationwide initiative led by the Beagle Freedom Project, so named because Beagles are commonly used in scientific research. Similar legislation has already been passed in California, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut and Nevada.

The measure, Senate Bill 1884 was approved by the Illinois Senate today. It now moves to consideration in the House of Representatives.