RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia General Assembly has passed a number of bills designed to protect the welfare of animals raised in research animal breeding facilities, after deplorable conditions at a Cumberland beagle breeder were exposed last year.
Undercover video taken by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and a federal report detailing unexplained deaths at the facility ignited calls for reform and oversight at the Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland County.
In a joint statement, Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-Herndon), Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Galax),and Sen. David Marsden (D-Burke) wrote, “As chief patrons of the seven research animal protection bills that passed the Senate floor yesterday and today, we are proud to lead the bipartisan effort to hold Envigo accountable for the troubling conditions and mistreatment of beagles at its Cumberland breeding facility.”
In addition to the seven bills originating in the Senate, Del. Robert Bell (R-Greene) patroned a measure to ban individuals who have committed certain animal welfare violations from buying or selling cats or dogs. The bill overwhelmingly passed, on a vote of 99-1.
“Virginia has been responsible for ignoring this mess for a long time, and we are not going to leave that stain on the Commonwealth,” the senators wrote.
There were seven related bills passed in the Senate and one in the House. Now the bills have to survive cross over and pass a second time before heading to the governor’s desk.