Very exciting news, Green Monsters! Sixty-four former lab beagles are getting a lick of freedom for the very first time in their lives, thanks to a new policy in India. According to Cruelty-Free International, “This week saw the release of the first dogs in India from laboratories thanks to a ground-breaking new initiative to rehabilitate dogs used in experiments. The government’s new policy, which requires laboratories to find homes for dogs used in animal testing, is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.”

While dogs are most often thought of as a man’s best friend, they are also sadly one of the most common animals used in research laboratories. Beagles, in particular, are often bred for experiments because of their docile nature. Some of the most popular experiments on dogs are known as “toxicity” tests, in which they are injected with or force fed substances – such as drugs, pesticides. and weed-killers. They frequently suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding, organ damage, seizures, paralysis, and even death. Tragically, even if the dogs do survive these cruel experiments, they are usually euthanized soon after. Thankfully, more people are becoming aware of these cruel studies, and this shift helping to make improvements in the treatment of lab animals. India’s example is a testament to a move that we hope will become an international trend for all lab animals.

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Half of the dogs released earlier this week are temporarily staying at a “hotel for dogs” in Bangalore, while they wait to find their forever homes. Several animal welfare organizations are working with Indian research laboratories to find foster and permanent homes for these dogs, who are very much in need of some TLC. But for now, these pups are just enjoying their first taste of freedom.

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While India has taken a huge leap with this new rule, there is much more work to be done here in the U.S. to help hundreds of thousands of beagles used for laboratory experiments. Thankfully, organizations like Beagle Freedom Project are working to spread the word about lab animals and working to secure their freedom. You can help by sharing this post and encouraging others to learn about animal testing. Together we can give a voice to these amazing animals and ensure a better future!

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Image Source: Jamie Beverly/Flickr