Beagles rescued from lab in Bengaluru: This exposes the cruel, rampant practice of animal testing

In some heart-warming news, 42 beagles, bred and kept alive in captivity, finally saw the light of the day when they were released from the confines of their cages and a life doomed to animal testing conducted by a Pharmaceutical Testing Laboratory in Bengaluru on Monday morning.

Representational Image. Beagles. Reuters.

Representational Image. Beagles. Reuters.

The rescue mission was carried out by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, an animal rights group, that operates in the city, as reported by ANI. The beagles aged between 2-4 years are temporarily being hosted at Hotel for Dogs, in Sarjapur, Bengaluru, the report further specifies.

Earlier this year, 64 beagles were released by the same laboratory when the government denied them permission to use the dogs for experiments, reports Huffington Post.

This time, the laboratory has been forced to free another 156 beagles, the first batch of which is being housed at Hotel for Dogs under the care of CUPA volunteers. The dogs, due to lack of space, will be released in four batches. The two organisers, Hotel For Dogs and CUPA will be conducting adoption camps over the next few days, to ensure safe and happy homes for the rescued beagles.

“This time around, the laboratory is actually helping out with the adoption drive, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Gopinath, a volunteer at CUPA . Born and bred in captivity, the 'Freagles', (a term of endearment used by the CUPA for the rescued beagles) are not exactly like regular dogs. They are not used to walks or sunshine, are quiet and get scared easily, says the report further.

These dogs, thankfully, have not been tested upon, as was reported by CUPA to Homegrown.

The laboratory was still waiting for project approvals when the directive for the release of the beagles came from the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals, which functions under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, says the report.

An online application process built by CUPA invites prospective adoptive parents to fill out a form, which the NGO then reviews in their first stage of screening.

Therefore, a happy future full of belly rubs and long walks, is foreseen for the 'Freagles', but the larger evil of animal testing still lurks around, hidden in dark corners of breeding houses and testing labs, working through the loopholes of the ban on animal testing in India, the general incompetence of regulatory bodies and the insatiable greed of some people.

In a violent experiment at the University of Pennsylvania, puppies were bred to have a degenerative eye disease that culminates in blindness. During the course of the study, the three-week-old beagles had their eyes cut out and were killed, according to PETA, as mentioned in a report by Occupy for Animals, which is an Animal Rights NGO in Europe.

"Why on earth are Beagle dogs being used to see what pharmaceutical drugs do to people? I would certainly never use a parrot to test drugs for horses, so why use dogs (or any other animal) to test human drugs?" questions veterinary surgeon Andre Menache.

He further makes his case by explaining how even though dogs, rats and humans share the same gene for a tail, the gene in humans has been "switched off". He also says that it's less about the genes that humans share with other species and more about how the genes interact and network. Therefore, one complex system cannot possible predict the workings of another complex system.

The very fact that drug-induced liver damage is on the rise, despite these very drugs being tested on rats and beagles beforehand, reiterates the fact that animal testing remains unreliable, making the whole procedure obsolete, and in Dr Menache's words, "less reliable than tossing a coin".

Dr. Menache, like countless others, proposes human-based research methods as a less cruel and more reliable alternative . These would include human cell studies, human DNA studies and the use of donated human tissues. Most of these methods he concedes are not 100 percent predictive, but to him they seem more reasonable than "a coin-toss".

Updated Date: May 20, 2016 14:21 PM

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