Free at Last

Free at Last
Free at Last
Beagles subjected to years of laboratory testing get their first taste of freedom

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This Beagle, the one running through the grass, ears flying, spent four years of his life in a lab being tested on daily. Take a moment to imagine that. Or, perhaps, don’t. It’s too terrible to think much upon. Mercifully, Tommy, as he is now called, was one of the lucky ones, rescued by the amazing Beagle Freedom Project. He now lives a happy life with his new family.

Though superior alternatives to animal testing exist, the horrific practice continues, with poor Beagles often the breed of choice. Just this past fall, plans to build a “Beagle factory” for scientific experiments in Yorkshire, England were underway but, thankfully, were ultimately rejected due to public outcry. Unfortunately, most of these cases don’t make the news and people are unaware that animal testing is still prevalent. According to People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, nearly 75,000 dogs are tormented in U.S. laboratories every year.

How can you help? Make sure your purchases (cosmetics, shampoo, cleaning supplies...) aren’t contributing to animal cruelty. If it doesn’t state “cruelty free,” “not tested on animals,” or isn’t marked with the Leaping Bunny logo, it’s a fair guess that it has been tested on animals. There are lots of great cruelty-free options. The Body Shop and Tom’s of Maine are just two examples. You can also add your name to the Beagle Freedom Project petition (beaglefreedomproject.org) asking the bare minimum—that labs relinquish dogs when they are done testing on them so they can be re-homed like Tommy. Let’s go team! Collectively we can make a difference!—RF

Candice Thies of Sweet Rocket Photography has both fostered and adopted dogs from Beagle Freedom Project. She shared these photos and this story with us…

The smell is wonderful. My lungs expand and contract to inhale more and more.

I run. I run and don’t stop. There is nothing that can stop me. I’m free. My heart is pounding out of my chest. Come on. Let’s run together. I can only imagine that’s how Ginger (previously #021142) felt after Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) negotiated her release with a Memphis based animal testing facility. Earmarked and raised in captivity from a pup, she was now in a new alien world where everything was vibrant and colourful. BFP negotiates and facilitates the anonymous release of incarcerated Beagles from animal testing labs to foster families and, eventually, adopters to rehabilitate and give them the life that they deserve. BFP wants to eliminate animal testing but is willing to work with labs to prevent them from euthanizing the Beagles after they are done “testing.”

Shortly after fostering Tommy (of the DC 7—a group of seven Beagles released from a DC facility), we were called upon again to foster for another east coast release. Tommy changed our lives in more ways than we could have imagined so we knew we wanted to participate again. Of the seven released from a Memphis facility, a sweet little girl picked us from among the potential fosters.

Ginger, four-and-a-half years old, was malnourished and her skin was in poor condition.

She had given birth to a litter within the past few months. She was also unable to bark. Almost all labs debark the dogs so they are not able to bark or whimper during testing or while caged.

The transformation from feral to domesticated is a heartbreaking process. Ginger had to learn banal tasks such as eating and drinking out of a bowl, walking on surfaces other than a cage floor, going through doorways, and sleeping in a bed. Thankfully, her learning was accelerated with the help of her new canine companions.

After fostering Ginger for a few weeks, she had placed her paw print firmly on our hearts. She felt so at home that we decided to let her live out the rest of her free life with us. It must have been kismet because she was born on our wedding anniversary. She has learned to go up steps, potty outside, and play with toys, but most of all, she has learned what love is.

Ginger is just one of hundreds of lives saved by BFP. One of the easiest ways to help BFP and companies against animal testing is to change the way you shop for household supplies, cosmetics, etc. Make sure that they are labeled as “cruelty-free,” “not tested on animals,” or they have the Leaping Bunny symbol on them. The change does not have to be all at once. One product per month will get you on your way to saving lives.

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Comments (1)

This is Elvis' mom, another very lucky Beagle saved, Memphis7. Thank you for sharing our story!!
Sun, 03/09/2014 - 10:22

Dog of the Week!