If you know me, you know I'm a proud owner of five beagles. If you don't know me: yes, I own five beagles. They are loud, terrible listeners and the sweetest, cutest creatures I've ever encountered. Beagles are often known for their loud howling, their keen sense of smell, their incredibly playful manner and their very gentle nature. But did you know that beagles are almost the dog breed that is the most commonly used in lab testing? Because of their size and mild nature, beagles are the "perfect" breed for scientific "research."
Just this past summer, researchers at University of Missouri were sued for blinding and killing multiple beagles in an experiment that led to inconclusive results. Mizzou isn't the only university that have mistreated these hounds. University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University are two other universities that have done inhumane research on beagles. Some studies include blindings dogs, giving them Oxycontin and forcing them to run on a treadmill until their hearts fail. The worst part is that the dogs are usually euthanized after the study is complete.
As I said before, beagles are chosen because of their sweet nature. They are incredibly mild, friendly and adoring. You never hear about a "mean" beagle; they won't fight back and they will even treat the research technicians with the same kindness while being used for testing. They are being taken advantage of.
Researchers obtain their beagles from various sources. Sometimes beagles are stolen from people's properties and sold to testing labs. There are also breeders who breed beagles purely to be used in lab testing. Thousands of beagles are used in lab research yearly, and since they are an easy breed to come by, it's easy for researchers to get their hands on them.
The Beagle Freedom Project is a Los Angeles-based non-profit business that rescues lab research beagles and finds them foster and forever homes. BFP is also proposing a bill to give animals used in testing a life after the research. Although this wouldn't eliminate the physical damage done to the animals, it would give them a chance to live a fulfilling and loving life.
Although beagles are the most effected, all cats and dogs have been victims to medical and scientific research. I understand that it's a good and necessary thing to further medical understanding, but the mistreatment of innocent creatures is not something I can stand behind, no matter what medicine we are discovering. Some research is done for veterinary reasons, but most research is done to benefit human beings. It is selfish and it is cruel. It is something no one would be on board with if it were being done to human beings, whose lives, in my opinion, are no more valuable than that of any other living creature.
I believe we must strive to find a better way to conduct medical research. I understand we are making great medical advances, but I don't understand how we can be making so many breakthroughs with science and still not be capable of discovering a better, more humane way to conducts these studies. I think we have the tools to do so, and we just need to make the effort. Every living being is important, whether it's a 30 year old human being, a 200 year old tree or a 2 year kindhearted beagle.