Last weekend, nine beagles who spent their lives in crates as “lab rats” for the pharmaceutical industry got their first foray into freedom. Normally laboratories euthanize these dogs when their usefulness is done — usually after about two years of this “life,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Medical laboratories in the US are using about 60,000 dogs at any given time, according to the Foundation for Biomedical Research, an organization that educates the public about the role of humane animal research. Beagles are often used as testing animals because the dogs are trusting, good-natured, and small, according the Chronicle. And it’s not just medical research facilities that use dogs. They can be used in testing anything from cosmetics to household cleaners.
The beagles who got to explore freedom on someone’s grassy San Jose, Calif., back yard were there because of some magic worked by the Beagle Freedom Project. The group was able to legally obtain the dogs from an undisclosed pharmaceutical laboratory to give them a new lease on life.
The beagles were a little cautious at first, but they slowly got into the business of sniffing and checking out their surroundings and each other. They went from frightened caged animals to dogs who started enjoying life.
For more photos and details of the day, be sure to read the San Francisco Chronicle’s story. And if you have a few minutes, and a couple of Kleenexes, sit down and watch the Beagle Freedom Project’s first rescue, in December 2010. The way these two dogs sat in their crates forever, despite open doors and sunny, inviting lawn, is a heartbreaker. But it will make your day when you see them running around in joyous circles after they finally realize that they’ve gone from Dog Hell to Dog Heaven.
The beagles who tasted freedom this weekend will be up for adoption. For info, check out the Beagle Freedom Project.