Good News for Dogs and Cats, Tragic News for Coyote Killers

Retired research dogs and cats must now be offered for adoption in Nevada

Posted Jun 12, 2015

Nonhuman animals are always in the news for one reason or another. As we all know, it's a mixed bag: both wild and captive animals, including companion animals (aka "pets"), are used and abused by the billions in various venues, but there are also passionate and dedicated humans who work selflessly to protect other animals.

Today I learned of some very good news for retired research dogs and cats living in Nevada. To wit, "Nevada. Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law a measure known by many as the 'Beagle Freedom Bill.' It requires labs to offer for adoption all dogs and cats used for research after the labs are finished with them." Nevada's law is the strongest in the United States, and the bill's author, Nevada Democratic state senator Mark Manendo, notes, “The ones that are healthy enough to be re-homed should be, absolutely should be.” It’s about time for animals residing in Nevada, as it should be for retired research animals across the United States. There is also bipartisan support. Nevada Republican Assemblyman John Moore told the Associated Press, “I see it as one step toward ending all animal testing on any animal in this state, whatsoever.”

I was thrilled to learn about this new legislation and equally saddened to learn that two men died trying to kill coyotes in northeastern New Mexico by shooting them from a plane (called aerial gunning). The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report can be read here. The men worked for the USDA's Wildlife Services, a federally funded organization that wantonly kills millions of animals each year "in the name of conservation" among other reasons. In 2014 alone Wildlife Services killed 2.7 million animals. They also kill members of endangered species and pets

This is not the first fatal crash by Wildlife Services aerial gunners. Details about other crashes that have occurred during other aerial gunning episodes have been summarized by WildEarth Guardians and can be seen here. There have been 33 accidents with no injuries, 25 with minor injuries, 9 with serious injuries, and 12 fatal crashes. In all, there have been 45 injuries or fatalities.

These crashes are tragedies, of course, but they could be avoided by stopping aerial gunning. It is essential that we all work on behalf of other animals who sorely need all the help they can get. 

Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservationWhy dogs hump and bees get depressed, and Rewilding our hearts: Building pathways of compassion and coexistenceThe Jane effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) has recently been published. (; @MarcBekoff)

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