Beagles freed from a private testing lab in California found their first taste of freedom at Beagle Freedom Project
Los Angeles, March 4, 2023 — To the delight of those who witnessed it, on February 25, 2023, more than. dozen beagles, freed from a private contract research testing laboratory, were able to walk on grass and mud for the first time in their tormented lives. To the cheers of their rescuers from the animal protection organization Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), these beagles had their first experience of freedom in an emotional public event at the BFP headquarters in Valley Village, CA. None of these beagles — some over eight years of age — had ever seen the outdoors before, or experienced the life they deserve as truly free dogs living with people who love them.
Shannon Keith, President of BFP, was there to encourage the beagles as they took their first steps to freedom. Two days later, Keith joined UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell to explain more about her project. You can watch the entire conversation here:
The Beagle Freedom Project Sets Beagles Free
Beagle Freedom Project is a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing animals from animal testing and vivisection laboratories, breeding facilities, and other institutions of cruelty. Founded in 2010, it has given a second chance to thousands of animals while working to end their abuse through educational programs and lobbying efforts.
Shannon Keith, who is an attorney, a documentary producer, and the president of this organization, explains more:
“I named it Beagle Freedom Project because beagles are the number one breed of dog used for testing, but we don’t only rescue beagles. We rescue all breeds of dogs, and all animals used in testing. So, we’ve rescued dogs, cats, alpacas, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, you name them. If we can rescue them from laboratory research, we will.”
BFP’s Beagle Freedom Law, mandating the adoption of dogs and cats from labs, has passed in 13 states, and its Cruelty-Cutter app is the leading cruelty-free shopping software.
“People need to speak up and speak with their dollars. They should use all animal-free and cruelty-free ingredients, products, pharmaceuticals, and everything else. That’s how they can speak with their dollars.” — Shannon Keith, President of BFP
How Were the Beagles Freed?
To protect whistleblowers and maintain relationships with the animal labs — in order to rescue more animals in future — Keith cannot reveal too many details about how these particular beagles were rescued. However, she said the following:
“It’s very hard to release those dogs after all these years. And, sometimes, it takes a village. And, it takes people who actually really care. It’s different every single time. That’s why we have a special whistleblower section in our website that whistleblowers can use to call us when the legal Freedom Bill isn’t being adhered to.”
Legislation in California and other states mandates the release of the surviving dogs and cats from labs when the testing is over, and the animals are healthy. Also, the recently passed FDA Modernization Act is in effect right now, which has eliminated the requirement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for animal testing in the development of pharmaceuticals. Keith explains more about this Act:
“What the FDA Modernization Act says is pharmaceutical drug companies can now choose to test or not to test. It’s huge. Right now, any drug company can test or not test on animals, period. So, they can say, ‘we’re going to choose alternatives to testing instead of testing on animals.’”
“People are listening now. They’re listening and they’re understanding that animal testing has no place in our world.”— Shannon Keith, President of BFP
What Will Happen to the Freed Beagles Now?
All the beagles who stepped onto grass and tasted freedom during the Valley Village celebration have been taken home by carefully screened foster guardians to be monitored until the perfect family for them is found. Keith explains what the process is:
“They all went into their foster homes that day… We had a vet exam that day that took place right there, at our headquarters… we want to wait for their personalities to come out because these poor dogs don’t know who they are yet. They’re scared of the new world, they don’t know what’s happening.”
Something that fosters and rescuers will be looking for now is what Keith calls The Beagle Breakthrough. Keith explains what that is:
“It’s the moment when they finally get through that period of just really not understanding that they’re free. You can see it because they’re looking through you instead of looking at you. When they finally kind of look at you and make that connection and realize, ‘okay, I’m actually a whole being and I’m free; and I know that you love me, and I’m safe,’ we call that The Beagle Breakthrough.”
“We hope this sets a precedent for more drug companies to stop using animals and take the ethical, legitimate and more effective route and use alternatives to animals.” — Shannon Keith, President of BFP
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Jordi Casmitjana is a vegan zoologist and author.