Due to recent events in the animal welfare world, I already had my blog post planned for today, to be about the AstraZeneca beagles. I was surprised and happy to find out, thanks to my fellow pet bloggers, that today was the first day, of four for the year, for the Blog the Change blog hop. Blog the Change is a day for bloggers and blog readers to come together and support the people who help animals in need. Bloggers write about a cause near and dear to their hearts, and readers can leave their own comments and ideas.
If you have read my previous post, It’d Be Easier to be an Ostrich, then you know freeing lab beagles, and putting an end to animal testing, especially on beagles, is a cause very near and dear to my heart. Just recently, one of my favorite animal welfare groups, Beagle Freedom Project, let us know that they had been working to try to get the pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, to free all or at least some of their laboratory beagles. AstraZeneca is closing one of their locations in Sweden, where they have up to 400 dogs bred exclusively for research. It is times like this when BFP and other animal rights groups will try working with companies to get them to release their lab beagles to them.
AstraZeneca refused, and this was their reason, as given in a return letter from Head of Corporate Affairs for AstraZeneca in Sweden, to Beagle Freedom Project: “Because these dogs have been purpose-bred for research, the best solution is to continue to utilise them for research at AstraZeneca facilities and by third parties acting on our behalf.” They intend to ship these beagles to their locations in the UK, and possibly to other places. You need only visit Beagle Freedom Project to find stories of laboratory dogs that have turned into wonderful pets, so that excuse holds no water with many of us.
Another group, known as W.A.R. – Win Animal Rights – has started a Facebook “event” called “AstraZeneca – Free the Beagles Immediately”. One of the worldwide campaigns they have started is encouraging people to email AstraZeneca, including a photo (example below) of your own beagle or other pet, with this sign. They are also encouraging other animal rights groups and organizers to plan protests at local AstraZeneca offices. Details can be found on the event page on Facebook, as they are arranged.
I took these photos of my dogs, and sent the email. Some people on Facebook wrote sample letters to be used. I used one of the sample letters as a base and modified it to make it more personal to me. Here is what I wrote:
“Dear Astra Zeneca,
I am extremely disappointed in Astra Zeneca for continuing to subject beagles at Rååhöjden to invasive and painful experiments.
Beagles are humanity’s closest friends. They have rich mental and emotional lives. I share my life with two beagles and know that their personalities are perfect for being beloved pets and living in homes with families. Even if their lives start out differently, I know they can adjust to life in a home. They deserve that chance just as any other dog does, no matter what they were born to. Inside your laboratories, beagles are deprived of everything that is meaningful to them, and they suffer immensely both physically and mentally because of it. Please put a stop to this. This continues even though scientists agree that beagles are poor models for researching human diseases.
It’s time for Astra Zeneca to let these dogs to go free. Please accept the request of Djurrättsalliansen Stockholm and let them free. Please contact them now: firstname.lastname@example.org
The whole world is watching you. You can set an example that others will surely follow, and animal lovers all over the world will be grateful. Thank you.”
Animal rights groups are also planning protests at airlines and airports, and some have already begun. I am not close enough to any offices to be able to attend a protest, and I thought the least I could do was write that letter. I believe this email campaign ended yesterday, but there are still things we can do. I want to spread the word, to try and help get these beagles freed. There is an online petition you can sign and share. They still need over 5,600 signatures to reach their goal of 25,000.
I have always felt one of the best ways we can protest animal testing is with our wallets. I have written about my quest to switch over to cruelty free cleaning and cosmetic products. It is a little more difficult with a pharmaceutical company. AstraZeneca makes many medicines, Crestor and Nexium being two that were familiar to me, and you may need one of those medicines for your own health. It’s not exactly something easy to shop around for.
From what I can see, in this case, no one is asking AstraZeneca to end all of their animal testing completely. They just want to see some of these beagles who may no longer be needed for research, get a chance at the kind of life a dog was meant to have. That means a happy, safe, warm home. Just the fact that these animals are bred and raised for that purpose alone simply breaks my heart. We all know that they deserve so much better than that. All we are asking for right now is a little bit, when there is so much more that we really want.
If you’d like to read more about this, here are some articles where I did my research:
These are photos of the AstraZeneca beagles, taken on 1-1-13, who are currently awaiting their fate.
Mary Lynn Heaston says
Let my puppies go.
AMEN to that!!!
This needs to stop – it’s cruel and heartless, and BS. These are innocent lives that feels, breath with the same heart beat your heart does. Stop it, that simple.
Very well said, Kari! To the point and totally true!
Vicki Cook says
Thank you for participating in Blog the Change Day! It’s so disappointing that AstraZeneca will not allow these dogs to spend the rest of their lives living a normal “doggy” existence. Even if these particular dogs aren’t released (which I hope they are), I feel it’s still important to shine a light on this situation and let people know that there are alternatives. Thanks for sharing!
I am so thrilled I was able to participate in Blog the Change! What a great way to get the word out on topics that we feel strongly about. I think raising awareness is the first step towards changing things.
That excuse by the company is just lame. Shame on them. And true, many medicines we just don’t have a choice with, but some we do — there are alternatives made by other companies. We should ask our doctors to be sure. You’re right – one is best heard with the wallet.
Thank you for blogging the change for animals!
Thank you for stopping by, Kim, and for caring about this issue. We do need to be more aware of where the products we are using come from, even if it’s more work. These companies need to be held responsible for their actions.
Poochie Project says
We have a passion for beagles in this house… there’s just something about that bay. This post is incredible and brings light to an opportunity to bring happy endings to much deserving dogs. Thanks for posting, and I’ll be on the look out for a hopeful happy resolution.
There is something special about beagles! I hope I will be able to report some good news at some point here.
Jackie Bouchard says
Thank you for sharing this info! I grew up with beagles and my hubby and I had a beautiful beagle, Bailey, for 12 years. I signed the petition and shared it on Facebook. I hope it helps!
And thanks for stopping by my blog. I loved your comment!
Thank you SO MUCH, Jackie, for signing and sharing the petition! BTW, I LOVE the name of your blog too! 🙂
Thank you, Kristine. I was pretty shocked when I first learned of this too….it was right when I was first starting my blog, and became my first real post. Thanks for the chance to participate in Blog the Change, I am looking forward to the rest of them this year, and reading all of the others!
Before reading this I knew so little about the dogs in such facilities and I am sure I am not alone. I am so glad you shared this information as it would alarm many people, and not just those in the direct animal welfare community. It’s very disturbing that such testing goes on when there are clear alternatives. It shouldn’t happen, not in the 21st century. Thank you very much for passing this all on and blogging the change.