Although cosmetic products are not tested on animals in India, pharmaceuticals and pesticides are legally tested on them. This is a morally questionable practice in itself; what is worse is that until recently, lab animals could be indefinitely housed in cages, waiting for a project that required them to be tested upon – some spent their entire lives in these cages, sometimes with no testing being carried out on them. Thankfully, this latter travesty has now been significantly dealt with, due to the efforts of animal rights campaigners. Although testing on animals has not been banned, the new rules state that an animal can only be used for one test project, that it can be held captive for only 3 years and that post the project or the 3-year caveat, whichever comes first, the animal has to be released to a welfare organization – it cannot be euthanized.
Soon after this ruling in February of this year, a batch of 64 lab Beagles, aged 7 to 10 years, was released in Bengaluru to CUPA (Compassion Unlimited With Action), an animal rights organization – and all of them found homes, with the help of volunteers. Have a look at the heartwarming event below.
Now, another batch of 156 Beagles is being released gradually, and applications are being accepted and screened for them. Since these dogs have literally spent their entire lives in cages, they have no idea what the outside world is like, and therefore require very patient and specialized care from the people who adopt them. The screening process is rigorous, with volunteers spending a lot of time observing the dogs for special needs and explaining to applicants what will be required of them. Currently, the release process is taking place only in Bengaluru – the volunteers have no estimate of the number of Beagles held in labs in other parts of the country. To give you an idea of the enormity of their task, the US-based Freedom Beagle Project, the pioneer in the lab Beagle movement, has never had to deal with the number of dogs being released in Bengaluru. Applications are being accepted from outside the city, but with the caveat that the dogs be transported only by road with the adopter/s, since any other form of transport will be too traumatic for them. If you’re interested in adopting a Beagle, you can find more information here, here and here. While you’re at it, have a look at how the Beagles are adjusting to their new lives.