Thursday 31 August 2023

Beagles used in animal testing experience freedom for the first time

Sadly, many animals are still used in laboratory testing across the world, never experiencing freedom or the love of owners in a domestic setting. 

Photo credit © Beagle Freedom Project UK

However for seven lucky Beagles, life is about to change for the better. They were rescued from a European testing centre by Beagle Freedom Project UK, and have been taken to start a new life at The Retreat Animal Rescue Sanctuary in Kent.

Photo credit © itv News/Beagle Freedom Project UK

Heart-warming footage appeared on the UK news channel itvX of the Beagles (pictured above) shortly after they arrived at the Sanctuary. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like for them to see the sky and sunshine for the very first time: to feel grass under their paws, and have kind and compassionate people to care for them.  Some of the dogs were born in the testing facility and spent their entire lives there until their rescue.

In the group of seven rescued dogs, five are male and two female. Three of the males, Jonesy, Davey and Ringo, are 11 years old and so have spent a large part of their lives in the laboratory. 

They were checked by vets outdoors, as taking them back into a clinical environment could be stressful for them. The rescuers at the Beagle Freedom Project UK described them as “new-borns in adult bodies” as they have never been properly socialised, learned to react to other dogs, or respond to cues to walk on a lead. They also suffer from PTSD.

Foster carers, carefully selected for their patience and skills, will be identified to eventually help the dogs to adapt to their new way of life.

Beagle Freedom Project UK offer full support throughout the fostering process, and funds all veterinary visits. It also look for fosterers to have a ‘normal’ well-adjusted dog in the home already, as this helps with the transition and teaches the Beagle how to ‘be a dog!’

All of the dogs will go through vet checks and receive any treatment they need. They appear to be generally in good health, despite their confinement in laboratories, however some have dental problems and dermatitis, and a few have ruptured cruciate ligaments, for which they will receive veterinary treatment where needed.

One of the rescued Beagles enjoying freedom. Photo credit © Beagle Freedom Project UK

Beagle Freedom Project is part of a worldwide organisation that rescues and re-homes animals used in experimental research: since 2010 it has liberated thousands of animals. It campaigns to end their abuse and has received endorsement from UK-based celebrities including Will Young, Graham Norton and Deborah Meaden. Find out more about the Project’s work here.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex even adopted a Beagle called Momma Mia from the US-based arm of the organisation. Momma Mia was rescued from a research facility in Virginia, but now lives with the VIP couple in California!

Momma Mia, rescued by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex photo © Beagle Freedom Project UK

Beagles are often chosen for animal testing as they have docile natures. Sadly, whilst animal testing continues, the role of the rescue and campaigning organisations like Beagle Freedom Project is key in increasing awareness, and helping to save innocent animals like these Beagles, and give them the chance to experience freedom to live as they should.

There are many ways to help the Beagle Freedom Project, you can find out more on its website: