The Beagle Freedom Project

Here’s a handful of the many, many products you probably have in your household that are tested on animals: Floor cleaner, furniture polish, motor oil, oven cleaner, cigarettes, eye shadow, lipstick, nail polish, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, air freshener, bleach, deodorant, cough medicine, cold medicine, laundry detergent, baby oil, pet food.

Yes, even pet food is tested on animals in experiments designed to cause pain, severe discomfort and often death.

The Food and Drug Administration does not require animal testing for product safety — and there are effective alternatives — but it’s a cheap and easy way for companies to meet their regulatory requirements. It’s also a fairly worthless way to ascertain human safety, given that the ways that chemicals harm mice or rabbits or cats or dogs rarely reflect their impact on human beings. And is it really necessary to establish, again and again, that drinking motor oil causes severe injury or death?

The animal test subject of choice for many testing laboratories is the beagle. Beagles are bred to be friendly, docile, and trusting of humans, so they’re easier for technicians to handle as they force toxins into their blood streams on a routine basis, whether by injection, inhalation, or force feeding. Beagles usually don’t fight back.

Test beagles are confined to individual cages, often in buildings with no natural light, so typically they live their entire lives without ever seeing the sun or sky or touching the earth with their paws. Sometimes they’re “debarked,” meaning they have their vocal cords severed so the technicians don’t have to hear them cry. They’re fed “food” that’s specially designed to minimize waste, which means that it has no flavor, so along with playing outside and interacting with people and other dogs, eating is another basic pleasure they’re deprived of for life.

In short, test beagles are born into an existence designed to be completely devoid of joy and assured of regular doses of pain and poison.

Shannon Keith created the Beagle Freedom Project to rescue beagles from the rare lab that agrees to allow the animals to live after using them up. Last year, Shannon helped engineer the biggest rescue of her life: 40 beagles relinquished to her care from a laboratory in Spain.

If you want to make your household cruelty-free, here’s a resource to find products that are not tested on animals.

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Dog Park Media created this video about the Beagle Freedom Project and the Spanish beagle rescue as the second episode of their RESCUED series. To watch other episodes and to stay posted on future videos, please “like” them on Facebook and like the Beagle Freedom Project at

About the RESCUED video series: RESCUED is an online micro-documentary video series about people who love animals so deeply that they devote their lives to rescuing and protecting them. The series is produced by Dog Park Media and run regularly on Life With Dogs and the Huffington Post.


  1. Monica says on  01/06/2012 at 11:39 am

    Words fail me. This was heartbreaking to watch them step on grass but joyful too.
    God Bless you Shannon.

  2. Paula says on  01/06/2012 at 4:11 pm

    God bless you, Shannon Keith! You are one in a million to care so deeply for these animals! You will be rewarded.

  3. You are doung a great job Shannon, I have 2 Beagle mixes and love them to pieces, both were rescues, glad all of the beagles from spain got a new furever home

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