Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday Beagles

This is a bit off topic for the Food Empowerment Project, but since I was involved and it is such a wonderful story about team work and dedication, I just wanted to share.

A couple of months ago a friend of mine who does rescue work in our area put me in touch with a woman who was working to get some beagle dogs released from a laboratory. There were about 13 dogs who needed homes immediately or they would be killed. These dogs had all been de-barked (meaning they had tissue removed from their vocal cords to prevent them from barking very loudly; this is a common procedure done at labs). Those who experiment and inflict pain on innocent animals don’t want to have to hear their cries. These beagles were a control group for experiments being done by a lab. None of the dogs had ever felt grass under their paws.

I was encouraged not to send this information far and wide – so I contacted activists in the area and immediately received responses from at least six people who would take the dogs to house them so they would not be euthanized.

Unfortunately, I was told that the vivisector (animal experimenter) had changed his mind due to budget issues and was going to keep the dogs to use for future experiments.

As someone who has worked on this issue for over 24 years, the thought of what this meant for the dogs was heart-wrenching.

Luckily, the week of Christmas I received another email that a different group of dogs was definitely going to be released if we could find homes immediately.

Knowing that the holidays might impact the rescue, I sent the alert to as many animal rights rescuers I knew, including my good friend and former Viva!USA attorney Orly Degani in LA. She immediately sent it to her list as well.

So yes, the good news is that 11 of the dogs are now with NorCal Beagle Rescue [to adopt some: http://www.norcalbeagles.com/cgi/Adopt.pl] and two found their way down to LA with Shannon Keith.

I have now been involved in the animal rights movement for more than half my life, and knowing that over a dozen dogs made it out of a lab and will live their lives free of torment has been an incredible way to start the year.

This rescue also illustrates the importance of teamwork. As Food Empowerment Project is an all-volunteer organization, I see the critical role teamwork plays time and time again. No one can do everything by themselves and reaching out to each other, being respectful and having some integrity goes a long way for our strength as a movement, which means more strength in fighting injustices.

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