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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You Versus a Cow

Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.

– Carl Sagan

I’m looking forward to a new little movie that will be launching soon. It is called Speciesism: The Movie and it is intended to make us consider our relationship with animals and the privileged stance we unquestionably assume among the animal kingdom…especially in relation to food.  Here is the trailer:

I find speciesism to be a very fascinating and challenging philosophy. Why do we value humans above animals? What makes us superior, if anything? How far should “animal rights” go? What is a “sentient being?” These kinds of questions are complex and deserve an open mind. You can look at speciesism from all kinds of angles. And people have. My understanding is that the best author to read who argues for NONspecieism is Joan Dunayer.

The movie should be good food for thought! Vegan food of course. 😉