The World Day for Laboratory Animals, which is observed on April 24, was established in 1979 to honor animals who have suffered or lost their lives in laboratory experiments. Unfortunately, many animals, such as dogs, are currently subjected to these tests. According to the Animal Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), in 2018, “over 65,000 dogs were held in U.S. laboratories and approximately 60,000 of these were used in experiments, with over 27 percent experiencing pain and distress during testing.” Most of these experiments have to do with “investigating heart and lung disease, cancer, and orthopedics” and pharmaceutical testing.
Beagles tend to be the dog breed that is most tested on due to their “obedient temperaments” and “relatively small-size,” as reported by Beagle Care. These dogs are purchased from “companies or sellers that purely sell to laboratories.” Golden Retrievers (used in Texas A&M Muscular Dystrophy Research) and Hound mixes are also used as well.
Depending on the severity of the study, the dog may end up euthanized. However, the dogs who are not put down may sent to a rescue to live out their remaining days. As with many rescue dogs, these pups, despite their horrific pasts, are resilient and are just looking for loving homes. In fact, Companion Animal Psychology reported that these dogs thrive after being rescued and rehomed. According to one study that involved the adoption of 145 retired research beagles “92% [of the new owners] said they would adopt a laboratory beagle again.”
If you can do so, consider adopting or fostering a retired research dog. The non-profit BeFreegle Foundation currently has some laboratory dogs who need pup parents. Also consider donating to animal sanctuaries who rescue laboratory animals, like New Life Animal Sanctuary.