Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beagle Freedom Project. Minnesota Saves Lab Dogs.

Our gang.
Jekyll, Cora (vacationing with us for the week), and Charlie.
Few of us escaped the journey of childhood without a few close calls from the boogieman/monster that lurked patiently under our bed waiting for us to close our eyes before they would stealthily slither up to consume us by muffling out our cries, suffocating us, and then swallowing us whole. We had good reason to worry, these fellas were ominous and omnipotent.

A few decades of sleepless nights later our haunting's morph into real life worries. Those real-life experiences that shape our idea's of frightening and cause us to shy away from things like roller coasters, sky diving, and bungee jumping. My real-life adult haunting's all oddly involve those places I know exist, feel helpless against and chew away at my sense of injustice.

Jekyll's morning ritual.
A little wiggle dance to get the day started.

There is no shortage of horror stories in this world we live in. You don't have to look any further than the newspaper, the news, or the internet, all crying out with obvious injustices, immoralities, and atrocities. But few things seem to change even as the public spotlight gains more exposure to places once shrouded in secrecy due to distance and denial.

The greatest haunting of my four years at vet school were the cinder blocked windowless impenetrable locked steel door buildings hidden in the very outskirts of campus. Save for the endless puling barks you would think they were simply warehouses for farm equipment. But the volume and spectacular range of voices gave the great number of inhabitants away. They were beagle houses. They were my modern Auschwitz.

The vet school beagles were a sporadic visitor to the student side of the vet school. They were always clean, always in good body condition, and always shyly hopeful to have a gentle hand. They loved attention and when they saw us they were showered with it. For us they were a fleeting reminder of what we were there for. We were there because we were still 10  year old's at heart who understood that these were our calling and our purpose. Some of the beagles were housed near the anatomy lab section. We were allowed to take them out for lunch break in the small double fenced wire enclosure. I spent almost every lunch of my freshman year with them. They were my therapy, my refueling, and my daily reminder that I had good reason to keep my nose in the books.

There were faculty who justified these studies based on research to benefit others. But to every person who took a moment to look into those beagles eyes I would ask, "Isn't there a piece of you that sees this as sad, cruel, and bothersome? Could you truthfully and honestly explain this life to your four year old and not feel that these dogs deserve better?"
Keeping guard at the front door.
There was a poster that hung beside the staff break room of a beautiful "Best In Show" worthy beagle. It read "Our beagles are the finest quality. Obedient, quiet, compliant." It was a poster from a company that sells beagles in bulk for research.

That poster still haunts me. It haunts me because those places still exist. We still breed animals to live appalling lives. It is one of the reasons I will always have a rescue beagle. I will spend my whole life saving beagles who would otherwise have little chance of survival, and for every one I do I will spend every living day making it up to the brethren left behind. My small protest and penance.

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I am grateful to the vet school for providing me with a first rate veterinary education but there were pets there who suffered, who assisted unwillingly with research and no one talked about it. It was kept quiet to protect research grants. This practice will end someday. It will end because humanity can do better and will refuse to accept otherwise.
Letting dinner settle in the belly.
The Beagle Freedom Project had another victory in helping research pets in the state of Minnesota. In Minnesota any dog used in state funded experiments must now be put up for adoption instead of euthanized. The numbers in the US are staggering. Nearly 65,000 dogs a year are used for research and close to 96% are beagles. To find out more about the Beagle Freedom Project please go to their website here or Facebook page. And please also join me in using their app so that you can put your dollars where your heart is and refrain from buying products that are still tested on dogs.

Update; February 2016. Open letter to beagle breeding facilities and labs;

Jekyll says "Thanks!"
Jekyll loves his dad.
If you are a pet lover I would like to invite you to come visit a whole bunch of other pet fanatics at Pawbly.com. We are dedicated to helping pets the whole wide world over by providing a free credible place to meet and exchange pet information, support, guidance, and friendship. Pawbly is free to use and open to anyone who cares about animals. You can ask a question, create or follow a topic, and share your pets photos, stories, and experiences.

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or in the clinic Jarrettsville Vet. Stop in and say "Hello," or just visit Jekyll beagle. He's always there with me, and always eager to meet a new friend.

Freedom Beagle Project Media Report about Minnesota lab dogs law here.

Related Blogs;
Jekyll Arrives

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