Although more than 25 million animals are used for testing in the U.S. every year, many people are completely unaware of the fact that the products they use every day involve animal testing. We are taught to think that using animals to test everything from cosmetic ingredients to drugs keeps us “safe,” so some do not question the practice. Sadly, this misconception comes at the cost of millions of animals.
While people usually picture rats when they hear the word “lab animal,” all types of animals are used for a wide variety of testing purposes. Bunnies, for example, are often used for testing personal care products, whereas beagles are used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, no matter the industry, these animals are all subjected to life in concrete cages where they are constantly stressed, in pain or scared. This is hardly the life we would wish on any other living creature.
Luckily, some of these animals do get a happy ending, thanks to the growing number of lab animal rescue groups. These organizations are working to give lab animals a second chance at life when their research trials are complete. Organizations, like Beagle Freedom Project, play an instrumental role in ensuring that animals are released from labs when this happens, otherwise the animals would likely be “disposed of” by the facilities. Once they win the animal’s release, they also arrange to adopt out animals and give them a taste of a loving, forever home.
Seeing the adorable faces and winning personalities of these rescued animals is sure to convince even the biggest skeptic that using animals for testing is wrong. After all, the stories of these rescued individuals have a greater impact than a page full of facts and statistics ever could, no matter how compelling.
Below are a few animals that are living proof that there is life after the lab.
Beagle Freedom Project
Stan’s story is a long and winding one, but it ends well. This adorable beagle was born into a lab in Florida where he lived until he was rescued in 2014. Stan was adopted into a loving family, however, caring for a former lab animal proved to be more work than the family could handle. Former lab animals are not trained to be pets and most have never known anything but life indoors, making the transition to a home even more difficult. Realizing the challenges that lay ahead, Stan’s family contacted the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP).
BFP came to the rescue, so to speak, and took him in until they could find him a perfect forever family who was ready to help him. The organization eventually found Stan a home with a loving family and beagle friends. Though initially Stan was scared and trembled the entire way to his new home, he slowly adjusted with the help of lots of love and patience.
Soon Stan formed close relationships with his beagle brothers and sisters who happily taught him “how to be a dog.” He now spends his days playing, napping and eating treats. Though he still gets a bit frightened of the outdoors, his siblings are helping him overcome this fear and enjoy the exciting world full of new sights and smells.
Bobcat is a loving cat rescued from lab life. He was saved by Kindness Ranch, an organization that specializes in saving lab animals and adopting out those it can. Bobcat was lucky enough to meet an intern named Kelley in 2010 who happily adopted him – although she might be the lucky one.
Kelley met Bobcat, who was at the time a seven-year-old cat, on the first day of her internship. He literally fell into her arms from the top of a refrigerator, and it was love at first sight. During her six-week internship, Kelley hung out with Bobcat every day and sometimes got to come home with her after work. Their bond was undeniable, so Kelley adopted Bobcat on July 5, 2010. There is no questioning that both of their lives have been greatly improved as a result.
Xander was kept as a lab cat in a small wire cage until he was three years old. His life changed forever thanks to a lab employee who contacted The Beagle Freedom Project (Yes, they save more than beagles!) to save him from certain death. Xander was released in January of 2014 and has never looked back! In fact, he became pretty famous after he was adopted and he even has his own Facebook page to document his post-lab life.
Rachel Gruen stumbled across Xander’s information online with no intention to adopt another cat, but she couldn’t resist him, especially after seeing his profile and YouTube video. Watch the video and you will understand why she fell for him. (Xander was named Jax before he was adopted)
She officially adopted him on March 2, 2014 and brought him home to join his three cat siblings, also rescues. At first he would stare into his water dish or at blank walls for long periods of time, but he is now adjusting to the world. He even gets along with his siblings, which is more than most people can manage! Xander is just one example of an animal rescued from a research facility that has gone on to lead a fulfilling life.
Lead image source: Maëlick/Flickr