Animal Testing: Beagles

Passing right by the fact that I haven’t written in over a year, I want to share some information I’ve been reading tonight about animal testing, specifically testing on beagles.

This will be short and sweet and mainly used to bring all of the info together and share it with my friends and fellow animal-lovers. Otherwise I’d be posting FB after FB.

I came across this story tonight:

University of Missouri researchers blinded, killed six beagles for inconclusive study

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Need I say it? It’s sad. And it raises questions of the reasoning behind our insistence on animal experimentation. It does this in part because when you really find out what some of the “important” scientific investigations do to animals, it challenges you ask yourself what that kind of pain, trauma, and wasted life is worth. It’s like watching slaughterhouse videos and then considering how important that hamburger is really.

Then I saw this article:

Beagles bred at two Dane County facilities go to labs around the country

This one hit home because Dane County is where I now call home, specifically Madison. It is hard being back in the midwest sometimes, hard being in the dairy capitol of the world, hard to not have all the vegan options at my fingertips like I did on the west coast, hard to not have the same vigorous animal rights groups as I’ve known. But I don’t mind being part of the progress happening all over the nation. There is progress happening here.

But when I read that in my county is one of the top three international beagle breeding facilities, Ridglan Farms, well it’s just a bummer. A big, heartbreaking bummer. Ridglan sells its beagles to (mainly) U.S. companies who conduct experiments for various purposes, mostly pharmaceutical labs and university labs. University of Wisconsin has been a customer. Some especially heartbreaking bummer-facts about Ridglan:

  • Puppies born at Ridglan who aren’t born to the physical specifications they are looking for are killed.
  • However, they also “preprogram” (read: breed) beagles to have certain defects to fit what the researchers are hoping to “treat.” For example heart abnormalities, circulatory problems, cataracts…
  • “…there are more than 67,000 dogs used in laboratories today across the country. Wisconsin is home to 7,196 of these dogs, more than any other state.”
  • Most of the dogs there are females who breed their whole lives. (Here is where an entire article about the connection between feminism and animal rights would go.)
  • The vast majority of dogs who are used in research are euthanized even if they would be adoptable.
  • In addition to having a nice size for cruel experimentation, beagles surpass any other breed in research because “they’re very docile, people-pleasing and forgiving.”

I hope you’ll just read these two articles. So many questions. What about the ethics of doing something because we CAN? Even it does have merit in the eyes of our culture and considering our position as human animals (the best kind of animal apparently), what is the cost. What are we establishing for our children in terms of their relationship with animals? What kind of karma are we engaging in…yes, I’ll go there. What kind of speciesism is going on behind the scenes when we care about this happening to beagles but not rodents?

But mostly right now I just feel like: What have we done? When did we become so callous? When did we turn into creatures that could look at something “docile, people-pleasing, and forgiving” and think, “Let’s breed it to hurt it.”

To find out more, please read those articles. For some hope you can check out the Beagle Freedom Project. And maybe next time you’re looking for a new pooch to add to your family, consider rescuing a beagle…you’ll know he’s done his time by the tattooed numbers on the inside of his ear.

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Weekend To-Do (Good) List

You know how it works. Life As a Wave is focused on recognizing our connection with each other, our inner selves, Source, the animal kingdom, and the natural world around us. Our relationships with these elements of life require our personal responsibility to make more positive connection.  In short, we all have the chance and the calling to DO GOOD. God knows the world needs more of it.

It’s not always easy, but this list makes it easier. This weekend, take some time to nurture your connections and make them more positive. Have fun with it and spread the word!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Autism Awareness Day

April is Autism Awareness Day and the 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day. By now you probably know that the growing rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is startling. It is the fastest growing developmental disability. In March, the CDC released new statistics for autism prevalence, 1 in 68 children. It was 1 in 88 just a few years ago.

This is a life-long disability with varying degrees of impairments. There isn’t a cure for ASD, much less a known cause. While the scientific world scrambles for understanding amidst competing possible factors, the therapeutic services such as speech and language pathology, occupational therapy and behavior interventions continue to bring support and skill development to individuals with ASD and their families at the average annual family cost of $60,000.

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Whether or not you personally know someone with ASD, your life will be impacted by this disorder, if in no other way than by the growing percentage of individuals with ASD that will be in our shared communities in years to come. Families raising a child with autism need support. They need understanding and community. This mother, a parent of 3 girls with autism, explains why and how she would like to see Autism Awareness Month become Autism Action Month in :

My three daughters are autistic. I despise Autism Awareness Month.

Her suggestions in the last paragraph are worth directly quoting. They are:

1. Give to an organization that provides service dogs for autistic children.

2. Serve as a volunteer as an autism buddy.

3. If your child has a classmate on the spectrum, invite that classmate to your child’s next birthday party.

4. You know that cashier at the grocery store who doesn’t look at you as she takes care of your order? Smile at her, even if she does not smile back.

Will you begin to transform your awareness into action?

2. Cosmetic Testing

This is Easter weekend and you can’t help but think of cute, fuzzy bunnies. Last week we warned against buying a rabbit for a gift for this holiday. There is, however, a way that you can honor and celebrate the long-eared cotton-tailed cutie patooties this weekend. Make an effort to stop the use of rabbits in cosmetic product testing!

I know that the questions of animal testing for scientific advancement is whole separate complicated issue. But, can we agree that testing on rabbits to develop better face soaps and eyeliners is a barbaric practice with no real value? Even for household products, shouldn’t we all be trying to use natural ingredients anyway that don’t require testing of all kinds of chemicals and toxins??

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If you agree, here are some things you can do:

First, look for the Leaping Bunny symbol on cosmetic and household products before you purchase. No bunny, no money!

Second, commit to a fresh, cruelty-free start. Take a look in for medicine cabinet and under your sink. Do you have products with these brands on them:

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If so, are you willing to throw them out and find a more animal-friendly replacement? This is one I’m going to do for sure. I know I have some of these brands hiding out in my house. Time for spring cleaning!

Third, talk talk talk! Spread the word, especially on Easter. You can’t walk your talk if you don’t have any talk to begin with. Tell people how you feel about this kind of testing and make a pact with them to make a change.

 3. Gratitude Practice

Today is Good Friday, a Christian remembrance day of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is also the first day of Passover, the Jewish remembrance of the Israelite’s divinely-guided escape from Egyptian enslavement. It is a day of gratitude, a virtue celebrated by leading religions and faiths worldwide. A virtue also that has been shown to be good for a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health.

passoverToday, no matter what you personally celebrate, I think we can take this divine energy of gratitude that is so strong in our hearts today and share it with people around us. Doing so honors God, honors yourself, and honors others. Here are some ways:

Happy-Good-Friday-2015-Quotes1First, think of one person (at least!) who has done something for you recently without a “thank you.” Maybe you forgot to say it…maybe you were in a hurry…maybe you were withholding a bit?  Now go give them a genuine “thank you.” Look them in the eye when you say it, touch their hand or give them a hug.

Second, think of one person (at least!) who has wronged you without saying, “I’m sorry.” Maybe they forgot to say it…maybe they were in a hurry…maybe they were withholding a bit.  In your heart, forgive them. Try thinking of all the reasons you can be thankful for having them in your life. Even the most challenging person can be seen as someone who has helped us grow and strengthen so there is at least ONE reason to be grateful for everyone.

Third, resolve to embark on a Gratitude Month…or Week…or Year…whatever you feel works best for you! Every day, start the morning with a statement of gratitude for something. Share it with others and carry it with you throughout your day. For a great guide on doing a 21-day gratitude challenge click here.

I’ll kick us off by telling you all that I appreciate every single moment that you have taken out of your days to read these words that I write with love. Writing Life As a Wave is one of the most treasured tasks I have ever taken on. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of if.

Have a beautiful weekend. If you are celebrating a holy holiday, may it be a blessed time with family and friends.

With gratitude,

~~~S Wave~~~

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