BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  March 3, 2015


                                    Medina, Chair

                    147 (Dababneh) - As Introduced  January 15, 2015

          SUBJECT:  Postsecondary education:  animal research

          SUMMARY:  Requires any public postsecondary educational  
          institution, or independent institution of higher education as  
          defined, that confines dogs or cats for science or research  
          purposes and intends to destroy the dog or cat used for those  
          purposes, to first offer the dog or cat to an animal adoption or  
          rescue organization, as defined.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Requires any public postsecondary educational institution or  
            independent institution of higher education, or employee or  
            student thereof, that confines dogs or cats for the purposes  
            of research (as defined in the Health and Safety Code Section  
            1650), to offer the dogs or cats to an animal adoption  
            organization or animal rescue organization for adoption prior  
            to euthanizing those animals, after the completion of any  
            testing or research where the animal's destruction is not  
            required and the animal is no longer needed.

          2)Specifies that a public or independent institution of higher  
            education that is required to offer dogs or cats to an animal  
            adoption organization or animal rescue organization may enter  
            into an agreement with said entities. 

          3)Defines the following terms:

             a)   "Animal adoption organization" or "animal rescue  


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  2

               organization" to mean a not-for-profit entity that is  
               exempt from taxation pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code  
               Section 501(c)(3), or a collaboration of individuals with  
               at least one of its purposes being the sale or placement of  
               animals that have been removed from a public animal control  
               agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to  
               animals shelter, or humane shelter, or that have been  
               previously owned by any person;

             b)   "Independent institution of higher education" to mean a  
               nonpublic educational institution as defined; and,

             c)   "Public postsecondary educational institution" to mean  
               any campus of the University of California (UC), the  
               California State University (CSU), or the California  
               Community Colleges (CCC).

          4)Specifies that animals that are irremediably suffering from a  
            serious illness or severe injury shall not be held for owner  
            redemption or adoption and that newborn animals that need  
            maternal care and have been impounded without their mothers  
            may be euthanized without being held for owner redemption or  

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Specifies that public health and welfare depend on the humane  
            use of animals for scientific advancement in the diagnosis and  
            treatment of human and animal diseases, for education, for  
            research in the advancement of veterinary, dental, medical and  
            biologic sciences, for research in animal and human nutrition,  
            and improvement and standardization of laboratory procedures  
            of biologic products, pharmaceuticals, and drugs (Health and  
            Safety Code Section 1650).

          2)Declares the following policies of the state:

             a)   No adoptable animal should be euthanized if it can be  
               adopted into a suitable home.  Adoptable animals include  
               only those animals eight weeks of age or older that, at or  
               subsequent to the time the animal is impounded or otherwise  


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  3

               taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a  
               behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a health  
               or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for  
               placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease,  
               injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that  
               adversely affects the health of the animal or that is  
               likely to adversely affect the animal's health in the  
               future; and,

             b)   No treatable animal should be euthanized.  A treatable  
               animal shall include any animal that is not adoptable but  
               that could become adoptable with reasonable efforts (Civil  
               Code Section 1834.4 and Food and Agricultural Code (FAC)  
               Section 17005). 

          3)Specifies that animals that are irremediably suffering from a  
            serious illness or severe injury shall not be held for owner  
            redemption or adoption (FAC  17006). 

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  Background.  The Animal Welfare Act (AWA; 7 U.S.C.  
          2131 et seq.) is intended to ensure the humane treatment of  
          animals that are intended for research, bred for commercial  
          sale, exhibited to the public, or commercially transported.   
          Under the AWA, businesses and others with animals covered by the  
          law must be licensed or registered, and they must adhere to  
          minimum standards of care.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's  
          (USDA's) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)  
          administers the AWA.

          The Act applies to any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate,  
          guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or other warm-blooded animal  
          determined by the Secretary of Agriculture to be for research or  
          exhibition, or used as a pet.  Additionally, the AWA mandates  
          that all research facilities must be registered with the USDA's  
          APHIS.  To note, research facilities include state and local  
          government-run research institutions, drug firms, universities,  
          diagnostic laboratories, and facilities that study marine  
          mammals.  Lastly, all research universities in the state,  


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  4

          (public and private), are accredited by the Association for  
          Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care  
          International (AAALAC) and are subject to additional standards  
          that go above the regulatory requirements.  

          Purpose of this bill.  According to the author, this measure  
          seeks to provide an opportunity for Californians to adopt dogs  
          and cats from tax-payer funded research, teaching, and  
          veterinary research laboratories in California's postsecondary  
          institutions of higher learning.  The author contends that,  
          "Current federal, state, and most educational-institutional  
          policies and regulations covering animals in research provide  
          for every aspect of the animals life from bedding, water access,  
          enrichment, food, pain management, and method of euthanasia, but  
          there exists no guidelines on what to do with the animals once  
          the research has ended.  When the research test, procedure, or  
          teaching exercise is over it is up to the discretion of the  
          individual laboratory as to whether they will attempt to place  
          the animal up for public adoption.  Current law provides for no  
          standard in identifying opportunities to provide for a humane  
          post-research life and the mechanism to do so."

          Research institutions' adoption policies.  UC.  On August 21,  
          2014, the UC issued systemwide guidance on the adoption of  
          research dogs and cats that each UC campus has adopted as their  
          individual campus policy for animal adoption.  The UC Guidance  
          Memo, found here,   
          specifies, among others, that each UC campus should adopt  
          locally appropriate procedures under which research dogs and  
          cats that are property of the UC Regents may be transferred from  
          the campus to individuals or organizations for non-research  

            CSU.  To note, the CSU does not currently have any research  
            activities involving dogs and cats on any of its campuses, but  
            several of its campuses have adoption policies in place.


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  5

            CCC.  Most of the 112 CCCs that have animals on its campuses   
            are used for teaching, not researching purposes and have  
            adoption policies in place.  The few CCCs that are involved in  
            animal research also have adoption policies in place and  
            adhere to the strict USDA guidelines.

            Association of Independent California Colleges and  
            Universities (AICCU).  The independent California institutions  
            of higher learning that have research dogs and cats (e. g.  
            Loma Linda University and University of Southern California  
            (USC), etc.) have individual adoption policies in place and  
            have been successful in their adoptions of approved dogs and  
            cats.  To note, though Stanford University has no research  
            projects that use cats, and over the last decade, has had very  
            few dogs, it also has a very specific and followed adoption  

          California statistics.  Based on 2014 data from the USDA's  
          APHIS, presently, 97 percent of the dogs and 72 percent of the  
          cats involved in medical research in California would be covered  
          by this measure.  According to the National Institutes of Health  
          (NIH), in 2014, California received 7,731 grants, more grant  
          funding from NIH (for animal research), than any other state.   
          California was awarded grants totaling more than $3.4 billion.   
          To note, four of the top 15 U.S.-wide NIH awardees in 2014 were  
          California universities:  University of California, Stanford  
          University, USC, and Cal Tech.

          Only 1.5 percent of dogs and 7 percent of cats involved in  
          medical research and teaching at California's institutions of  
          higher learning were euthanized in 2013 and 2014, as required by  
          the research protocol for scientific reasons.

          According to the NIH, in 2014, 4,976 dogs and 1,946 cats were  
          involved in medical research in California.  1,583 (or 32  
          percent) dogs and 590 (or 30 percent) cats were located at  
          corporations, hospitals, and private research facilities and  
          therefore not covered under this measure.  However, 3,393 (or 68  
          percent) dogs and 1,356 (or 70 percent) cats would be covered  


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  6

          under this measure.

          To note, of the dogs and cats covered under this measure, 3,333  
          (or 98 percent) dogs and 1,071 (or 79 percent) cats were adopted  
          out after involvement in a medical research program in 2014;  
          3,280 of the dogs and 1,059 of the cats were involved in active  
          adoption programs by existing and on-going arrangements with  
          local animal shelters.  Additionally, 53 dogs and 12 cats were  
          adopted out by universities after the conclusion of scientific  
          protocols via their adoption programs.  Eighteen dogs and 219  
          cats remained at the research facility in on-going protocols,  
          and were not eligible for adoption.  Forty-five dogs and 64 cats  
          were euthanized as a required and scientifically necessary part  
          of the research protocol.  A full tabulation of the 2014 numbers  
          shows that of all the dogs and cats covered under this measure,  
          one dog and four cats were euthanized after the conclusion of a  
          research protocol whereby the research protocol did not require  
          euthanasia.  Said animals were euthanized because they were  
          determined to be unadoptable for health and behavioral reasons  
          by trained laboratory animal veterinarians.

          Efforts by other states.  House File 3172 (State of Minnesota)  
          (Chapter 312, Statutes of 2014) is similar in nature to this  
          measure. Additionally, the states of Nevada and Connecticut  
          introduced legislation similar to this measure during their 2014  
          Legislative Sessions and the state of New York may potentially  
          introduce similar legislation this year.  

          Arguments in support.  According to the Beagle Freedom Project,  
          "Giving dogs and cats, if healthy and no longer needed for  
          research or post-research purposes, a chance at a family life,  
          should not be discretionary for tax-payer funded institutions.   
          The fact that some of these research facilities state that they  
          have an internal policy in place does not negate the need for a  
          unified, standard and permanent model."  

          According to the Sacramento SPCA, this measure demonstrates  
          California's commitment to a high standard for the humane  


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  7

          treatment of animals.

          Arguments in opposition.  According to the AICCU, the California  
          Biomedical Research Association, Stanford University, and the  
          USC, "The federal government has established an extensive  
          regulatory framework, administered by the USDA that highly  
          regulates the use and role of animals in research.  Furthermore,  
          all the institutions covered by this bill have policies and  
          practices in place regarding animal care, research, euthanasia,  
          and the adoption of healthy dogs and cats when appropriate and  
          after an expert evaluation." 

          Committee considerations.  Who adopts?  According to many of the  
          California universities that conduct research on dogs and cats,  
          a standard process for faculty, staff, and students to adopt  
          approved research dogs and cats exists; however, as drafted, it  
          is unclear if this measure will prevent faculty, staff, and  
          students from adopting these animals.

          Should this measure pass of out this Committee, the author may  
          wish to amend the bill to clarify that public postsecondary  
          research educational institutions may allow for faculty, staff,  
          and students to adopt approved research dogs and cats.

          Civil liability?  California universities that conduct research  
          on dogs and cats have researchers and laboratory veterinarians  
          that use their best judgment in determining if a dog or cat is  
          adoptable.  If the research universities are required to adopt  
          research dogs and cats, that may take away the institutions'  
          ability to use their best judgment, and, therefore create a  
          liability risk for their researchers and universities.

          Should this measure pass out of this Committee, staff recommends  
          that the author consider amending the measure to address  
          liability concerns.  The author may wish to specify in the  
          measure that a research university that is required to attempt  
          to adopt out research dogs or cats to an animal adoption or  


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  8

          rescue organization, shall be immune from any civil liability  
          that otherwise might result from its actions, provided that the  
          institution is acting in good faith.  

          Previous legislation.  AB 2431 (Dababneh, 2014), which died in  
          Assembly Appropriations Committee, was very similar to this  

          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  
          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 
          Animal Humane Society of Minnesota
          Barks of Love Animal Rescue 
          Beagle Freedom Bill
          Best Friends Animal Society
          Molly's Mutts & Meows
          Pasadena Humane Society & Society for the Prevention of Cruelty  
          to Animals
          Pine Animal Hospital, Inc. 
          Priceless Pets
          Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 
          San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          Sonoma Humane Society
          Tails of the City Animal Rescue
          The Amanda Foundation
          The Rescue Train
          7922 Individuals


          Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
          California Biomedical Research Association
          Stanford University
          University of California


                                                                     AB 147

                                                                    Page  9

          University of Southern California

          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Jeanice Warden/HIGHER ED./(916) 319-3960