Hundreds of Cats and Dogs Saved from an Animal Testing Laboratory

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic

In a groundbreaking action, the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), a non-profit organization that rescues animals used in testing, has shut down an animal testing facility in Nowata, Oklahoma, and rescued over 200 dogs and cats from certain death.

This monumental action closed down one-third of the flea and tick product testing industry in the U.S., ending years of cruel experimentation on an untold number of animals, and saving thousands of cats and dogs from the same dreadful fate.

Most of the animals kept in these facilities are bred specifically for testing, meaning they spend their entire lives in terrible conditions. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), animals in laboratories are kept alone in steel cages, with little room to move, and devoid of animal and human companionship.

More than 200 cats, dogs, and a family of pigs were kept in horrifying conditions in the 30-acre facility in Nowata, Oklahoma. The poor animals were kept outside in the cold, in nothing but small tents to serve as a shelter. Those kept inside were housed inside tiny cages placed on hard concrete. 

In the past, the Nowata laboratory has been the subject of many USDA citations and violations. The animals kept there had to endure aggravating pain and discomfort caused by fleas and ticks breeding on their bodies. To make matters worse, the cats and dogs were forced to wear cones so they couldn’t relieve the itching and the pain.

We had to end this,” the president and founder of the Beagle Freedom Project, Shannon Keith, said. “Rather than rescue the dogs and cats one by one, while the facility continued its cruel operations, several months ago, we took a chance and approached the owner of the facility about relinquishing his USDA license and ending operations.”

And they were successful! Animal Health Innovations Inc. has ceased operations and surrendered its USDA license. “The importance of this monumental achievement cannot be overstated. Not only have we rescued hundreds of animals from being tested on and certain death, we have also created a pathway for others to do the same,” said Keith to Agusta Free Press.

But, that’s not the end. The Beagle Freedom Project plans to transform the former laboratory into a rehabilitation and adoption center called the Freedom Fields - a place where the rescued animals will receive medical attention and the love they deserve.

This has never before been accomplished. We are overjoyed that not only will we give more than 200 dogs and cats their freedom and identity, but that we will also transform an animal testing facility into a place of hope, happiness, rehabilitation, and love,” added Keith.

The new space should consist of a doggy park, catio, cat cafe, dog dens, groom room, and lots of open space for dogs and cats to run around and play in. Additionally, there will be a barn for farm animals and a visiting center where the visitors can learn about animal testing before meeting the adoptable animals. 

Extensive renovations are already underway at Freedom Fields, including replacing small metal cages and makeshift outdoor tents surrounded with electrical fencing with warm and sturdy barns for large farm animals. A landscaped dog park and cozy indoor/outdoor spaces will make rescued cats and dogs feel at home. 

According to Keith, there are safer and better methods of flea and tick control, and these products don’t have to be tested on animals. Currently, the Beagle Freedom Project is arranging the closure of another large laboratory and is working with companies to provide safer and more ethical methods of flea and tick control for cats and dogs.

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Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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