Cosmetics, cleaning supplies, baby products, mouthwash, deodorant, shampoo, medical devices, and medicine … the list goes on and on of everyday items you probably have in your house right now that are tested on animals.
In fact, 115 million animals suffer at the hands of researchers and laboratories worldwide each year; and it’s not just mice and monkeys being poked and prodded ... One woman is dedicating her life to rescuing thousands of beagles neglected and abused in the name of research.
These crates are packed with beagles rescued from a lab in Spain. More than 40 others get their first taste of freedom in California. Just like most of them, echo, was born for one reason. Animal experimentation. Product testing in her eyes caused her to go blind. Ellie was rescued by the beagle freedom project when she was just a puppy.
“She was scheduled to be euthanized because they were done with her.” Sasha Itzikman explains of her rescue, Ellie.
All of these dogs were saved by Shannon Keith, “I asked a laboratory worker once why beagles? And she said, well, it's because they're so trusting and forgiving.”
Keith now dedicates her life to saving beagles saying that, “at any given moment or at least 70,000 dogs in laboratories in the United States being used for testing.”
Keith says the dogs are not only born inside the lab, but some shelters also sell their dogs to them. And although the list of animal tested products is large, and diverse, and the companies well known, the labs are often hidden.
“This is what I call the industry’s dirty little secret…” Keith states.
Whistle blowers are key in finding out what’s going on inside.
“Just before we started during this interview, I got a whistleblower letter.” Keith goes on to read the letter stating, “I’m writing about several puppies who nearly all died because of the conditions they were in.” She further explains that “most of these puppies died and they died a horrible death.”
Keith will investigate and file an animal cruelty lawsuit, but she says the best course of action is to raise awareness. That’s why she’s developed the free cruelty cutter app. A scan of the barcode reveals if the product is animal tested.
“They say everyone has a little activist in them, right?” Keith said.
Many nationwide chains carry cruelty-free products. These products can also be ordered online.
“I’m more connected than ever to, and, and committed more than ever to leading a cruelty-free life to making sure that our house doesn't have any products that are tested on animals.” Itzikman states of her decision to use the app.
Keith will continue fighting for the beagles, and Echo will continue to sing the praises of her and the beagle freedom project.
Most labs aren't overseen by veterinarians. There are vet techs who work on these animals, and they're not required to have any experience. Furthermore, most state anti-cruelty laws contain explicit exemptions for animals used in experiments.
The FDA has stated that 92 percent of drugs found safe and effective in animals don’t even make it out of clinical trials because they are either ineffective or too harmful in humans.
You can learn more about the beagle freedom project, donate, and find out how to become a foster parent to a rescue at https://bfp.org/.