The 25 million animals used in U.S. laboratory tests endure numerous horrors every year. Researchers most often use non-human primates and small mammals like mice, rats, and rabbits, but dogs and cats are also common subjects in their painful, repetitive, and lengthy trials. All types of laboratory animals are usually bred just for research, but they start their lives with the same potential as our treasured pets. Breeders don’t remove their abilities to feel physical and emotional pain, as doing so would of course compromise the study’s findings.
Animals who survive laboratory tests are typically euthanized when a study comes to a close, even if they’re still healthy. Thankfully, some rescue groups are working to change that. Animals need rehabilitation after their traumatizing lab experiences. Many have trouble trusting humans again, and may suffer from PTSD-like symptoms. But the groups below offer hope to these little soldiers, so they can move beyond their painful pasts and enjoy a new life feeling the grass under their feet and the love of compassionate pet parents.
1. New Life Animal Sanctuary
Elsinore, Calif.’s New Life Animal Sanctuary takes retired animals from laboratories, willing to offer them a comfortable forever home as an alternative to euthanasia. The sanctuary fights to save a variety of lab animals, from common pigeons and rats to cuddlier bunnies and beagles, and works with researchers and students to lobby for lab animals’ right to life after experimentation. Their Facebook page shares videos of animals enjoying their new home, plus updates on their latest crowdfunding and rescue goals.
In their first month, New Life rescued over 300 rodents from a closing psychology program at Calif. State University-Northridge and adopted all of them, plus the offspring of pregnant animals, to loving homes.
2. The Beagle Freedom Project
Tragically, one of our nation’s favorite dogs is also a popular choice for animal research. The friendly, sweet, trusting, and forgiving nature of the breed makes it ideal for family life and, unfortunately, laboratory trials. It’s tough to imagine what these sweet pups endure in the labs, but we’re thankful that The Beagle Freedom Project is there to give these dogs hope for a better future.
The Project began in 2010, when founder Shannon Keith learned that beagles formerly used in laboratory testing would be given a chance at freedom. Since then, she and her team have been removing dogs from laboratory situations and transporting them to forever homes. The organization informs adopters that laboratory dogs can be difficult — they aren’t used to loving humans and, in most cases, have never been outdoors. On the other hand, their transformations and reaction to their new homes will make up for any challenges.
3. Chimp Haven
Let’s not forget the primate survivors of animal research. Because apes can’t be adopted out, Chimp Haven aims to support their long-term needs. The sanctuary was first established in 1995 as a place where chimpanzees could live in spacious outdoor areas and form social groups. In 2000, Chimp Haven earned government funding in tandem with the CHIMP act, which retires chimpanzees from federally funded research programs.
Chimp Haven also supports chimpanzees from non-government programs. “The Price is Right” host Bob Barker recently sponsored five adult chimps who had lived their entire lives in laboratory settings. As seen in this video, they are now on their way to a life of freedom at the sanctuary.
4. Animal Rescue Corps
ARC seizes animals legally, using investigations and partnering with law enforcement and other animal organizations to ensure a successful rescue. Before taking animals, the organization plans ahead to secure a comfortable, safe place for each of them in the appropriate animal shelter, foster home, or sanctuary.
ARC founder Scotlund Haisley built a revolutionary cageless shelter that allows his animals to enjoy their freedom immediately after rescue from a horrible life of confinement.
5. Kindness Ranch
From a quick glance at their website, Kindness Ranch looks like any other animal shelter, with profiles of cute beagles and kitties available for adoption. But the ranch is designed specifically to rehabilitate cats, dogs, sheep, horses, and pigs who are later adopted into loving forever homes. Those who are too sick to leave can live the rest of their days in comfort at the Ranch.
Animals at the Kindness Ranch live in a spacious home-like environment with plenty of space and opportunity to play outside and with toys and other animals. This helps them learn to socialize properly after a former life of isolation. Caretakers work to give the animals round-the-clock care until they are healthy and well-adjusted enough to be adopted out.
Green Monsters: Don’t see your favorite group on the list? Tell us which others you support with a comment below!
Image source: Kindness Ranch / Facebook