BEAGLES USED IN RESEARCH – WHY WE OWE OUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS TO THIS WONDERFUL BREED
Did you know that the medication you took this morning, your friend’s chemotherapy, and your mother’s heart surgery may be safer and more effective because of beagles? The USDA requires that animal testing be done for substances and procedures like pharmaceuticals, pesticides, heart and lung surgeries, prosthetic devices, and chemical food additives – to ensure safety to humans. Dogs are a preferred laboratory test subject, and beagles are the preferred breed. The USDA estimated that in 2012, there were 72,000 dogs being held in labs for research purposes, and 96% of these were beagles.
Why are beagles used in research? For the same reasons that they are a popular pet; they are trusting, docile people pleasers. They rarely bite researchers, even when painful procedures are administered. Dogs are often bred specifically for research, and puppies as young as five weeks become test subjects.
Adoption of research dogs has been controversial. While most dogs are euthanized for autopsy and further research, many labs have balked at releasing the remaining dogs for adoption. The stated concern is that these dogs are not appropriate as pets, but there is speculation that labs are also concerned about scrutiny of how they treat lab animals. While rescued research beagles can be skittish and overwhelmed by their new environment, most adjust within a few weeks or months. Rescue organizations have polled the adopters of research dogs, and they have found an extremely high rate of successful adoptions. Rescue for North Bay Beagles successfully placed a research beagle in a loving home in June 2015.
There is more good news: legislation is approved or pending in several states to regulate the time that dogs can live in a lab, and requiring that all appropriate dogs be released to rescue groups. The other good news is that there are new research modalities that don’t require animals: computer modeling, human cell research. Until this research becomes the norm, we owe a huge debt to the beagles and other dogs who have given their lives to improve ours. We can thank them by fostering or adopting research beagles, and supporting rescue efforts. For more information, contact Rescue for North Bay Beagles: 707-360-7539 or firstname.lastname@example.org