These scenes come from a rescue of laboratory beagles a year and a half ago, but they seemed a good way to start off a new year — and a touching reminder to appreciate the simple things we tend to take for granted.
Like grass, and fresh air.
The nine laboratory beagles shown here – like most beagles bred for lives in labs — had never been outside, seen or stepped on grass.
On June 8, 2011, they were rescued by the Beagle Freedom Project from an undisclosed research laboratory, and, with a six-hour drive ahead, allowed to romp in grass for the first time in their lives.
Watching them take those first uncertain steps is pretty moving.
The Beagle Freedom Project was started in December 2010 by Shannon Keith after he learned what beagles — the most popular breed for research because of their trusting personalities — go through in research labs.
Its mission is to rescue and find homes for beagles used in laboratory research.
Research facilities obtain beagles directly from commercial breeders, who raise them for that purpose.
According to the project’s website, university and other research facilities use the beagles for medical, pharmaceutical, household products and cosmetics tests. Some labs attempt to find homes for them when the dogs have finished serving science.
The project works directly with the labs, making arrangements to remove and transport beagles and place them in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.
Once rescued, laboratory beagles need to learn how to be dogs, and live as pets. Most have never seen children, cats, televisions, sunshine, or grass. They’ve not been house-trained, and are unfamiliar with toys and leashes.
The Beagle Freedom Project warns potential adopters that the dogs may be fearful of people initially, may have phobias from a lifetime in confinement or from being restrained, are likely to have been surgically de-barked by the breeder, and have an ID number tattooed in their ear.
Neither the project, nor those who adopt the dogs, know what specific kind of experiments the dog might have been involved in.
But dogs are quick learners and with time, the project says, “these dogs will learn how to become dogs, and their transformation will be amazing.”
Beagle Freedom Project is a service of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME). Founded in 2004, ARME is a nonprofit advocacy group created to eliminate the suffering of all animals through rescue, public education and outreach.
(Photo and video from the Beagle Freedom Project)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, beagle freedom project, beagles, breeders, cosmetics, dogs, experiments, laboratory, laboratory beagles, medical, pets, pharmaceuticals, rescue, rescued, research, science, testing
It’s the one-year anniversary for 120 beagles who, around this time last year, learned the true meaning of independence.
Up until then, even here in the land of the free, they weren’t.
Instead, like thousands of other beagles bred and born for the sole purpose of laboratory use, they’d never experienced what most dogs take for granted — things like grass and dirt and running — and were destined, once their use in testing was complete, for something quite contrary to a loving home.
The beagles had been left locked in a research facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J. after its parent pharmaceutical company went bankrupt. When their situation came to light, a judge order the dogs turned over to rescue groups.
One year ago, a group of them were welcomed to Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in New York, where work began on socializing them so they could be adopted out as family pets.
This coming Sunday, some of them will gather for a reunion.
About 35 of the adopters stay in touch on Facebook, offering support and following each others progress through photos and stories.
They — and any of the others who adopted a “freegle,” as they are prone to calling the dogs rescued from the laboratory — are gathering July 10, from 12:30 to 4 p.m., at Kennedy Dells Park, 355 North Main Street in New City, New York.
Among those attending will be a beagle named Grace, who has her own Facebook page, called Saving Grace. Grace’s owner said that while word of the reunion has gotten out among those who stay in touch, other beagles adopted from the group are also invited, as well as everyone else who participated in rescuing them.
Shelters, sanctuaries, volunteers and staff are “most welcome to attend and meet the families and hear the stories of how the Freegles have been adjusting to the good life.”
(For questions or to RSVP, send an email to email@example.com.)
I met several lab beagles while researching my book — including some flourescent beagle clones in South Korea. In Texas, I interviewed the woman who cared for the beagles used in attempting to clone a dog at Texas A&M University.
Jessica Harrison, a graduate student at the time, was in charge of socializing the beagles and finding adoptive homes for them — not usually the case or fate of laboratory beagles — after their services in the lab were no longer required.
“What they teach them is to be still,” she told me. “As puppies, they teach them to just freeze when a person messes with them. We had to kindo of undo that and say, ‘No,we want you to move around and be excited.’
“We slowly exposed them to all the things they’d be exposed to in a family home — like TVs, mirrors, grass, trees, flowers, birds and bees. These dogs had never seen any of that. You put them down on the grass, and they’re like, ‘What’s this?’ It was kind of overwheliming. You get used to it, but at first it’s like, these are dogs, how can they not know these things?”
The use of dogs in laboratory research was declining, but it has jumped up in recent years, with much of the increase due to advancements in, and the promise of, gene therapy.
(Photos: Top photo from the Facebook page of Freegles Justice and Skipper; bottom photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, aniclin, animal sanctuary, beagles, best freinds, cloning, dog inc., dogs, experiments, flourescent, freed, freegle reunion, freegles, kennedy dells park, lab animals, lab beagles, laboratory, medical, new city, new jersey, new york, pets, pets alive, pharmaceuticals, rescue, research, reunion, sanctuary, science, shelter, warren county
On Friday, the beagles — owned by a research facility in New Jersey whose parent pharmaceutical company went into bankruptcy — were released to the care of animal rescue groups that, after socializing them, hope to adopt them out as family pets.
Beagles are bred especially for use in medical experiments and are used in research because of their affable and passive natures, their relative lack of inherited health problems and their mid-range size. These particular beagles are estimated to be between two and five years of age and have lived their entire lives in a laboratory.
Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Kanab, Utah, and Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, based in Middletown, N.Y., and Elmsford, N.Y., worked together on rescuing the beagles, who had been left locked in the facility operated by Aniclin Preclinical Services in Warren County, N.J.
The facility closed in April, after Aniclin’s parent pharmaceutical company couldn’t pay its bills, according to the Times Herald-Record in New York’s Hudson Valley.
A judge ruled that the beagles could be handed over to animal rescue organizations. Fifty-five primates were also removed from the facility and sent to a simian rescue organization
Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary welcomed the beagles to their new home this weekend, decorated in red, white and blue.
Best Friends, according to a press release, was made aware of the beagles’ dilemma through its Community Animal Assistance national helpline, which fields requests to help animals from around the country. Best Friends contacted Pets Alive, a sanctuary in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York, which offered to take ownership of the dogs. Several other animal rescue organizations have stepped forward, each offering to take some of the beagles.
Best Friends is paying for veterinary care, food and transportation of the dogs from the facility. It will be bringing back as many as 30 dogs to its sanctuary in Utah, including those who may need more time and help before transitioning into family living.
“Best Friends is teaming up with Pets Alive in the New York area to help these beagles get the fresh start they deserve … one that’s long overdue,” said Judah Battista of Best Friends Animal Society.
“These dogs have been in a laboratory, too long without friends,” she said. “Since these dogs have never had the opportunity to discover their true lovable, comical, often boisterous nature, which makes beagles such a favorite family dog, Pets Alive and Best Friends are committed to helping these dogs discover their true personalities.”
“In this case, the cruel and unnecessary practice of animal testing was compounded by the abandonment of these innocent victims,” said Kerry Clair, executive co-director of Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary.
People who live near Pets Alive in Middletown, N.Y., are invited to volunteer their time to help feed, care for and socialize the beagles. To do so contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aniclin, animals, beagles, best friends, best friends animal society, chemicals, dogs, donate, experiments, free, freed, independence, lab, laboratory, new jersey, news, ohmidog!, pets, pets alive, pharmaceuticals, receivership, released, research, sanctuary, utah, vounteer, warren county