When we think of animals used for lab experiments, rats and mice are typically the first that come to mind. We’ve become accustomed to the idea of “lab rats” and mice running through complicated mazes to get the prized cheese at the end. While these animals undoubtedly suffer in testing facilities and the practice of using live animals for cosmetic and pharmaceutical experiments has been proven to be incredibly unreliable and ineffective, rats and mice have become to the “accepted” testing animals. With this in mind, many people are shocked to find that dogs are often used in labs. Yes, that’s right, the animals we consider our best friends and loyal companions are also subjected to horrific lives in concrete cells where they undergo painful procedures and experiments in the name of science.
Beagles are a favorite in the pharmaceutical testing industry due to their docile and loyal nature. According to the American Anti-Vivisection Society, between 70,000 and 75,000 dogs are used for research in the United States each year and most of these dogs are beagles. Tragically, dogs used for testing never get to experience live as a “regular” dog. Instead, many beagles suffer through having their voice boxes removed, never get to experience walking outside – let alone grass, and they only ever learn to associate humans with pain and fear. This is really no life at all for these dogs, and to make matters 100 times worse, most dogs are euthanized as soon as their trials are done.
Luckily, there is one organization fighting to get lab beagles a second chance at life: Beagle Freedom Project (BFP). BFP is campaigning to raise awareness for animal testing, encouraging consumers not to support products made with these methods, as well as working to pass legislation that ensures animals used in testing facilities get rehomed as soon as their tests are complete. So far, BFP has successfully helped pass bills in Michigan, California, and New York to secure the freedom of retired lab beagles.
Life after a lab can be quite difficult for a beagle to adjust to. They have to learn how to trust people and all the basics of potty training, walking on a leash, and how to interact with other dogs and humans. BFP helps to rehabilitate the animals they rescue, but above and beyond any training they can provide, love seems to be the best rehabilitation method around.
In a Facebook post accompanying this photo, BFP writes, “Sometimes you just need a hug.”
We think that learning to love will be a breeze for this beagle thanks to his amazing little human best friend. Hundreds of beagles are getting the chance to experience this happy life thanks to the hard work of BFP and the fantastic people who work with them to help rescue and rehome these animals.
No animal should have to suffer in a lab considering the emerging technologies that make their use obsolete. While a future without animal testing is certainly in sight, we can minimize animal suffering by purchasing products that have the “leaping bunny” symbol and read “cruelty-free” on the labels. BFP has an incredible app called “Cruelty Cutter” that allows you to scan products and see if they were made with animal testing.
To learn more about BFP and their work, check out their website here.
Image source: Beagle Freedom Project/Facebook