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Meet the Dog Behind the NSW Animal Testing Bill

Meet Buddy, the dog behind the Animal Justice Party’s “Buddy’s Law”.

Did you know that cats and dogs are used in medical experiments in Australia? It was something I didn’t know about until just yesterday, when I spoke to Buddy’s owner, Patrice Pandeleos.

Buddy is one of a few animal survivors of medical experiments in Australia, with only about 30  cats and dogs released from experimentation last year. There are thousands used in the medical field.

“I took Buddy to Parliament yesterday to meet and greet with lots of different politicians and he shook paws with everyone from the Labor Party right through to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and everyone in between… I think they were quite shocked at just what a normal, easy going dog he was,” Pandeleos told Gizmodo Australia.

“[Buddy] was used for research for the first eight years of his life… Pretty much no one knows what happened to him because, when you get a dog or any animal that’s used for research from one of the places that test on them, they give them to the organisations who aren’t allowed to say what happened to them or where they came from.

“I was the first home he ever had. So, when I first got him, he didn’t know what a tennis ball was, he didn’t know what a toy was, he couldn’t walk up stairs. When I took him out for a walk, he would, you know, dive to the ground if anyone made any sudden movements.”

Patrice Pandeleos, Buddy and Minister Emma Hurst. Image: Patrice Pandeleos

After a few months of adoption, Buddy started to set into normal life and get used to things. Pandeleos describes him now as happy and outgoing. From the beginning of Buddy’s adoption, however, Pandeleos became an advocate for animal experimentation awareness. Minister Emma Hurst, a member of the Animal Justice Party in the NSW Parliament, began drafting Buddy’s Law.

Buddy’s Law is comprised of two components: the first is giving animals the right to be released from experimentation and the second is defunding taxpayer funded animal experimentations.

“Any animal that would be homeable would essentially be given a second chance,” Pandeleos added.

“I recognise that there is sometimes a need to do it, but I think what I’m 100 per cent certain of is that, you know, animals that donate their bodies in the name of science should be given a second chance. I don’t think it’s about ending all testing, even though maybe personally I would like that to happen, but I think it’s about giving these animals a normal life and not just be discarded once the research is over.”

Pandeleos said that once an animal has completed one lot of testing, the animal should be rehomed, adding that animals are typically put through test after test before they’re eventually euthanised.

Minister Hurst’s legislation surrounding the “Right to Release” animals used in medical experimentation passed the NSW Upper House on Tuesday, outlining that animals used in research would need to be released “after the research concludes or three years have passed, whichever comes first”. Now, MP Alex Greenwich will take it to the Lower House.

And, yes, there are taxpayer-funded animal experiments. Buddy’s Law still has a fight ahead of it.

“The government refuses to say exactly how much money is given to this industry, and there is no transparency about the types of experiments taxpayers are funding. I don’t want my taxes going toward cruel and wasteful animal experiments, and I’m sure you don’t either,” the page on Minister Hurst’s website reads.

I hope that this law passes. No animal deserves to live a life of cruelty. You can read about Buddy’s Law on Minister Hurst’s website.

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