This post is part of an ongoing effort to convince drug giant AstraZeneca to reconsider their decision to relocate 400 beagles from their breeding facility in Sweden to laboratories in the UK and elsewhere, where they will continue to suffer as research experiments. Beagle Freedom Project of Los Angeles, along with other rescue organizations, has asked AstraZeneca to consider freeing the dogs for rehab and rehoming. The offer has been denied. AstraZeneca attempted to lighten the news by stating that only 2% of the animals they use for testing are Beagles. Not good enough.
From where I sit, using animals in laboratory research is wrong. Morally, ethically, scientifically wrong.
I am appalled animals are abused to test the safety of cosmetics. Sick that they are sacrificed to study the side-effects of household cleaners. Disgusted that they are drugged, diseased, and dissected to ensure the effectiveness of antibiotics (or antacids). Especially when it is widely known, though not widely accepted, that testing an animal to study the effects of a cosmetic, cleaner or drug on humans does not provide accurate or reliable results.
As I sit and write, my big lump of rescue love, Daisy, grows restless and moves from the couch to the floor, rolling her big belly up in the air for some rub time. She’s persistent, wiggling over the carpet with a big grin on her face until I give in and smother her with the affection she so deserves. LolliPop, her tongue hanging loosely from her mouth as the result of abuse, lies facing me, flattened to the floor with her head between her front paws, back legs splayed to either side, her swishing tail the only hint she’s watching my every move.
If they were laboratory Beagles, they would never know such things as belly rubs, naps in the sun, trips to the beach, or stealing my side of the bed. I would never know such things as how they greet me each day with loud barks, the Beagle dance, dashing to grab stuffed “babies”. Only they know the tears their soft heads have dried, the comfort their warm little bodies hold in the middle of the night. The joy they bring me and teach me every single day. They say it with their very souls: appreciate life.
If they were laboratory Beagles, they would endure life in a cage with no room to stretch and roll. They would be restrained, forced to give their blood, or their body parts, as deemed necessary for our selfish research. They would be poked with needles, filled with drugs, blinded, maimed, mutilated. And most likely, when their service was done, if they have survived, they would be euthanized, thrown away, and forgotten.
That is the fate for countless Beagles used in research, unless someone speaks up for their freedom.
Fortunately, there is Beagle Freedom Project. BFP uses its voice to work with research laboratories around the world, negotiating for the release of Beagles used for testing all the wonderful products many of us use everyday*. In just two years, starting with the rescue of 40 Beagles from a research laboratory in Spain, BFP has successfully coordinated 10 rescues worldwide, saving, rehabbing and rehoming over 100 former research pups.
Unfortunately, their latest rescue effort, to save all, or at least some, of the 400 beagles at a Swedish breeding facility owed by biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, has been denied. The reason? According to an email from AstraZeneca to BFP:
“Because these dogs have been purpose-bred for research, and they are needed to support our global research efforts, the best solution is to continue to utilise them for research at AstraZeneca facilities and by third parties acting on our behalf.” – Head of Corporate Affairs for AstraZeneca in Sweden, in a letter to the BFP.
AstraZeneca, the maker of such prescription drugs as Crestor, Nexium, Seroquel and Symbicort, doesn’t seem to get it. Over and over again, BFP has shown that former lab dogs can ~ and do ~ become happy, healthy, loving, family members to those of us who love dogs. They don’t need to spend their lives caged, isolated and alone, condemned to further torturous and horrid research. And they don’t deserve it. That sort of existence can hardly be for the benefit of the dog.
Whether or not you agree with using dogs for research, it’s hard to deny that they should at least be given a good home when their service is done.
In an effort to convince AstraZeneca to rethink their decision, BFP is asking their adopters, fosters, and supporters to speak up for the release of the dogs. So I am asking you for help:
1. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know you want the dogs freed. If you’re inclined, download the poster at the top of this page and take a photo of your dogs (or cats, or cows, or pigs!) with the poster, showing their support. Attach it to your email. Post your emails in the Comments section of this post, or email them to me at lollipearldaisy @ gmail.com for future posting on this blog.
2. Sign the petition to free the dogs at Change.org. We still need over 5000 signatures!
Below is the email I sent along with a photo of my rescue girls, LolliPop and Daisy.
Because from where I sit, not freeing 400 Beagles from sad lives of slavery and service in a research facility is wrong. On so many levels.
Lollipop and Daisy join together with thousands of dogs around the world to implore you to reconsider your decision to confine the 400 research Beagles in your lab to life of hell.
You say that dogs bred for research should remain research, as though they could never adapt to a life of love, happiness, contentment, and peace. So they should remain confined, unloved, tortured, test tubes without a name? Your logic, your reasoning, is faulty at best, and self-serving at its core. Public awareness surrounding animals as research subjects is growing, and you are now at the forefront of that awareness, … all eyes are on you.
We have shown you with our stories and our pictures just how loving and happy and well-adjusted and joyful rescue beagles can be, given the chance. Don’t you think that they deserve it?
While my two dogs were never laboratory research dogs, they were abused and mistreated. Lollipop lost her lower jawbone due to abuse and then infection (note the sign is sticking to her tongue). Daisy was fed to be grossly overweight and suffers health problems as a result. But they are by far the most loving, sweet, fun, happy, grateful, and loyal little dogs I have ever known. Do the right thing, AstraZeneca. Set those babies free.
*unless you are like me and use only cruelty-free products.
24 January 2013 Update
The following letter was submitted to AstraZenecka by Brandy Montagnari and her adorable Beagle, Shelby. (And yes! Named after the Julia Roberts character in “Steel Magnolias”!) Comments of this post include more messages for AZ, so I will be resubmitting this post to them as part of the ongoing campaign to convince them to free their beagles.
Subject: Please free the Beagles
Dear kind person or persons filtering these messages.
I’m writing to beg you to reconsider the fates of your precious lab beagles.
I don’t know what it takes to run a huge corporation, but I do know what it takes to be humane; it isn’t difficult.
These beagles have already worked hard for you, and have probably helped in the production of some human life saving medications. Wouldn’t you say it’s time to let us humans return the favor? They are beautiful loving dogs who still have potential happy lives ahead of them.
As an owner of a rescued beagle, I can attest to the fact that they make wonderful, caring, and fun pets. My rescue was an adult when we adopted her and we had to train her how to live life as a pet. Fortunately, beagles are smart animals, and they can adapt quickly. As I’m sure you know, they love pleasing their humans.
I’m sure you’re getting many of these emails, but it should go as proof that there are many of us who are willing to take these precious creatures into our homes and hearts.
Brandy (and Shelby)