Nine beagles who were released Wednesday from a California university animal testing lab, arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday night on the first step of a journey which, hopefully, will lead them to new homes.
These dogs were bred specifically for research, according to the Beagle Freedom Project. The dogs have lived in the lab almost their entire lives.
Shannon Keith, of the Beagle Freedom Project, said dogs were scared and shaking.
"At this point, it'll take a few days to do blood tests and see what's up with them," Keith said. "They've never felt a human touch of kindness."
Keith said the dogs have never seen the outdoors, never walked on grass, and never smelled fresh air until they were released on Wednesday.
The president of one organization that supports animal research said she is delighted the beagles are getting a chance to be adopted.
Jacquie Calnan of Americans for Medical Progress said while dogs are sometimes used in heart and bone diseases studies, the overwhelming number of animals in medical research are mice and rats.
"People and animals are living longer and healthier lives because of biomedical research involving laboratory animals. Virtually every medical treatment available to us today: vaccines, surgical procedures, medicines, implants, etc. has come about in part through scientists' study of laboratory animals," she said.
She went on to note that many people do not know "that veterinarians are part of every biomedical research team. They are there to ensure the animals receive the best of care and that they are humanely treated throughout the study."
Shannon Keith maintained the dogs were released because they were no longer needed.
"We reach out to laboratories and we get to rescue some of these beagles so they don't die in the lab," said Keith. "The lab actually reached out the me. We have a liaison who reached out to us. This person really cares about the animals and was able to get them released to us."
Beagle Freedom Project will be seeking adoptive homes for these special beagles.
You can find more information on the Beagle Freedom Project website.www.beaglefreedomproject.org/
And more on animal research is available at www.amprogress.org/AnimalResearchFAQ