Shelter Spotlight: Beagle Freedom Project
While many pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic brands are quick to point out that their products are not tested on animals, the sad reality is that too many still rely on our four-legged friends to beta test their scented lotion and potions before they go to market.
In fact I was shocked and saddened to learn that many animals (beagles in particular) are bred commercially for use in these labs and that they ultimately live out their lives restrained in a cage, being poked and prodded until their usefulness has been exhausted.
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Why beagles? Apparently they are known for being docile, trusting, they adapt well to a caged environment and are cheap to feed. Are you feeling sick yet? Well this is a good news story because from these sad beginnings comes hope for many of these misused pooches. The Beagle Freedom Project is a mission that rescues these dogs after they have done their time as test subjects, giving them a chance to live the life every pup deserves – safe and loved in a forever home. Cue the super-hero music!
The organization began in 2010 when founder Shannon Keith learned that a number of beagles that had been used for experimentation were about to be retired from active duty so to speak. Apparently this is not unusual as many universities and research facilities attempt to find homes for animals when they no longer need them. Keith started up the Beagle Freedom Project and now works with these labs to safely (and legally) remove the little guys, placing them in foster and ultimately loving family homes.
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While my maternal side says “I’ll take two”, the reality is that these pooches have been through a lot and will take time and patience to socialize. They have never known life in a home, walked on a leash or likely even stepped on grass. Many may have inflamed paws from living in cages with wire floors, they will take time to house train and they may be fearful of people following a lifetime of restrained confinement.
The upside is that if you’re reading this and still thinking you’re up for the challenge, the love and companionship you offer these wee lost souls will be rewarded ten-fold.
But the Beagle Freedom Project has a mission that goes beyond rescuing and rehabilitating these dogs. Their goal is to convince more research facilities to allow these unloved animals to be given a second chance at life by being adopted out rather than destroyed. Beagle Freedom Project is a service of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME), a non-profit advocacy group that formed back in 2004 to eliminate the suffering of all animals through rescue, public education and outreach. Their Shelter Drive is now an annual tradition that provides homeless and shelter animals with beds, toys and treats. Hey, add kids and a yard and you’ve covered just about every basic necessity of a happy dog’s life!
If you’d like to learn more or donate to the cause, visit Beagle Freedom Project’s website.
Mary Simpson is an animal-loving writer and communications professional. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen. She enjoys running, politics, exploring local wine regions and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.
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