I like all dogs better than most people… but I have a soft spot in my heart for beagles. I guess it goes back to our family dog when I was a teenager. Rusty was mostly beagle, with a little bit of basset hound mixed in. That explained his oversized ears. When he was a puppy, everything about him was small-sized – except those ears. They hung in the water when he drank from his dish, and dripped all the way across the kitchen floor. And sometimes when he walked he would step on an ear and face plant. I felt sorry for the little guy – but it was hilarious. Eventually, he grew into his ears. He was a good boy and I have the best memories of him.
Which is why I find the following so… horrifying:
Beagles are the most popular breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage, and are inexpensive to feed. Research beagles are usually obtained directly from commercial breeders who specifically breed dogs to sell to scientific institutions.
That information comes from an organization called the Beagle Freedom Project:
Beagle Freedom Project began in December 2010 when Shannon Keith received information that beagles who were used for animal experiments in a research lab were to be given a chance at freedom. Our mission is rescuing and finding homes for beagles used in laboratory research.
Testing done on beagles in university and other research facilities includes medical / pharmaceutical, household products and cosmetics. When they are no longer wanted for research purposes, some labs attempt to find homes for adoptable, healthy beagles. Working directly with these labs, Beagle Freedom Project is able to remove and transport beagles to place them in loving homes. All rescues are done legally with the cooperation of the facility.
Anyone interested in fostering or adopting a lab beagle should be aware of the challenges these dogs have. They will not be accustomed to life in a home and will not have experience with children, cats, or other dogs. They will not be house-trained and accidents will happen, although they learn quickly. Many have gone directly from a commercial breeder to the lab, and have never felt grass under their feet or even seen the sun. They will have been fed a special diet formulated for lab animals and may be difficult to adjust to new foods. They will be unfamiliar with treats, toys, bedding and may never have walked on a leash. They will have lived in cages with steel wire floors and may have inflamed or infected paws from the pressure. They may be fearful of people initially and may have phobias from a lifetime in confinement or from being restrained. They are likely to have been surgically de-barked by the breeder and have an ID number tattooed in their ear. Please also be aware that although these beagles are considered healthy, you will be given very little information about the beagle’s medical history, and you will not be told its origins or what kind of testing they may have been used for.
With time, patience, play, companionship, love – and most of all, freedom – these dogs will learn how to become dogs, and their transformation will be amazing.
Our hope is that with your help, we can encourage more research labs to release animals and give them a chance at life, instead of destroying adoptable pets.
Please watch this video. It will break your heart… and then it will give you hope.
Of course, not everyone can foster or adopt. There are so many ways we can help:
Click on this logo to learn more about the Beagle Freedom Bill:
And spread the word about BFP – they’re on every social media platform.
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about Beagle Freedom Project and helping them succeed in any way you can. They are amazing people doing amazing things for animals who deserve so much better!
Now, watch this! for the best 3 minutes of your day/week/month.
Day 099 #100happydays
The End (so far)