Thanks to the efforts of the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), 38 beagles who were used in research are getting the chance to experience the world beyond the walls of a lab and discover what it’s like to live as a loved member of a family, instead of as a test subject in a cage.
BFP, which has been working to save adoptable animals from labs, called it an unprecedented rescue operation that pulled the beagles from from five labs across 11 states. Now they have names instead of numbers and are getting to enjoy the good things in life, from feeling the grass under their feet to experiencing what it’s like to have toys and a bed, for the first time as they adjust to life outside the lab.
“Each dog in each of the rescues approached these new freedoms and the whole big world in front of them with a cautious, but excited, bewilderment,” said BFP. “Many of the beagles bound out of their cages with exuberance, so excited to finally run, play, sniff, pee, and be the silly little dogs they are meant to be. A few of the others however have a tougher road ahead of them, still clearly suffering the effects of PTSD. These sweet scared little beagles flinch at the sight of a human hand and cuddle together for security in corners. With time, patience, and unconditional love thought, they will recover.”
According to BFP, there are an estimated 65,000 dogs being used in labs across the nation to test drugs, cosmetics and household products, among other things. Of those dogs, 95 percent are beagles who are used because their sweet personalities make them good test subjects.
Tragically, it’s standard to kill them regardless of whether or not they’re still healthy after researchers are done using them. Of course ideally they would never be used at all, but until we get there, efforts to support a relationship between rescues and researchers will help ensure that animals who can be saved at least get a second chance to live a new life instead of being needlessly killed because it’s convenient.
BFP hopes the stories of these rescued beagles will help raise awareness about animal testing and why we need to end it. So far, their efforts have not only saved lives, but have resulted in the passage of legislation in a few states including Connecticut, Minnesota and Nevada, that require labs to offer animals to rescues when they’re no longer being used, while others are now considering making that change.
The organization is also working to give an individual identity to animals in labs who are otherwise hidden from the public. Earlier this year BFP also launched an Identity Campaign, which offers people the opportunity to virtually adopt dogs and cats being kept at research facilities across the nation.
Adopters get Freedom of Information Act forms, which are sent to the institutions to find out what’s happening to their adopted animal. Adopters don’t get to take animals home, but the information they get is then used to create a bio for the adopted animals, which can be used to advocate for them.
For people who wants to get even more hands on, BFP also has plenty of dogs and cats who are waiting for their forever homes.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, want to adopt a former lab animal, or want to know more about efforts to save them, visit the Beagle Freedom Project.