Rescue Organizations Work to Give Animals That Have Endured Years of Experimentation a New Life

By Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor
Matt McGregor covers news and features throughout the United States. Send him your story ideas:
January 5, 2022Updated: January 6, 2022

After a life of confinement and torturous experimentation, most laboratory animals, such as the beagles within the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIAID), are euthanized, however, some rescue organizations have stepped in to show them a life outside of a cage.

If the dogs are fortunate enough to be rescued, they experience a rebirth into a kinder and more spacious world the dogs greet with distrust.

“I call them newborns in adult bodies,” Shannon Keith, president and founder of the California-based non-profit Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), told The Epoch Times.  “They don’t know anything.”

They don’t know what treats or toys are, she said, and the outdoors is an alien world to them.

Once the beagles are rescued, they go into a foster-based system, never having to be housed in a facility again, but instead a home, where they learn to be a dog for the first time.

“Some of them just sit there like one dog from a recent rescue who had been in a cage for nine years,” Keith said.  “When she got home, she just sat in the living room frozen for like eight hours and wouldn’t move.  The trauma is overwhelming.”

Epoch Times Photo
A beagle rescued by the Beagle Freedom Project in 2021. (Courtesy of the Beagle Freedom Project)

White Coat Waste Project

In 2021, the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act showing that the federal government through the National Institute of Health (NIH) spends up to $20 billion of taxpayer funds on animal experimentation.

WCWP’s research disclosed the gratuitous and bizarre nature of the NIAID’s experiments on rhesus monkeys and beagles.

The document obtained by the group reveals that NIAID has spent $13.5 million in taxpayer funding on experiments that involve injecting the monkeys with various infectious diseases, such as Ebola and the Lassa virus that results in hemorrhaging, pain, brain damage, loss of motor control, and organ failure.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of NIAID, a division of NIH, itself a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), three departments that have set the tone for policies surrounding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.

“In many of these experiments, Fauci and staff intentionally withhold pain relief, even though these are some of the most excruciating experiments in the federal government,” Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy for WCWP, told The Epoch Times.

NIAID’s experiments on beagles involved having sandflies eat the dogs alive, as well as experiments in which 44 beagle puppies were force-fed an experimental drug before being killed and dissected.

In another procedure highlighted, NIAID staff performed a “cordectomy,” which involves cutting a dog’s vocal cords so that it can’t bark, howl, or cry during an experiment.

“The reason that the Department of Health and Human Services gives on its website for using beagles is that they are small and docile, meaning they are easy to abuse,” Goodman said.

Despite many medical experts, such as Dr. Tiffani Milless and Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman concurring that animal experiments are “notoriously unreliable,” there’s been no indication from NIH or NIAID that the organizations will cease its experiments on animals.

Epoch Times Photo
A beagle rescued from a lab in 2021 by the Beagle Freedom Project after years of experimentation. (Courtesy of the Beagle Freedom Project)

Beagle Freedom Bill

The BFP rescues beagles from private, state, and federally funded laboratories.

Last week, it rescued seven puppies from a pharmaceutical-testing laboratory.

“They come with no name, only a federal identification number tattooed in their ear,” Keith said. “That’s all they’re known by, and a lot of the times their vocal cords are cut so they can’t make sounds.”

Keith, an animal-rights attorney, liberated the organization’s first beagles in 2010, and from there, began outreach programs to educate the public and legislators on what is taking place in these laboratories.

“They work to hide this, so it’s been my goal to get it into public view and to start creating legislation to end it,” Keith said.

In 2014, Keith drafted the Beagle Freedom Bill, or the Humane Retirement Act, a template to send out to all states for legislators to consider in requiring these labs to release the animals to non-profit rescue organizations instead of killing them when the experiments are completed.

Eleven states have enacted post-research adoption laws similar to the intent of the bill.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2021 report, 797,546 animals were used for experimentation in 2019.

Approximately 59,000 dogs and 19,000 cats are used in biomedical research annually, according to BFP.

Eighty-eight percent of the dogs (52,321) and over 76 percent of cats (14,609) used in experiments are in states that don’t have post-research adoption laws, according to BFP.

The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 required the USDA to regulate organizations that house animals, and as a part of that regulation, it must disclose through annual reports how many animals, what kind, and where these organizations house the animals.

Keith uses USDA data and a whistleblower hotline to locate labs that could be willing to release the beagles.

‘His Hands Are Bloody’

On NIAID’s experiments, Keith told OAN that Fauci is culpable in his refusal to end the experiments, which she said he has the authority to do.

“Whether or not he actually signed off on specific tests, or his hands are bloody from those tests, he is directly responsible, period, and therefore the blood is on his hands,” she said.

In a response to The Epoch Times, the NIH said animals in NIH-funded research are protected by federal laws, regulations, and policies “to ensure the smallest possible number of subjects and the greatest commitment to their welfare,” which includes “ensuring that harm and distress are minimized as much as possible.”

Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary

Lab-tested animals also have a refuge at the Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Hartville, Wyoming, where Executive Director John Ramer manages a 1,100-acre ranch founded by Dr. David Groobman.

In 2021, Ramer said he carried 176 dogs out of research labs.

The sanctuary takes in animals of all species from labs that perform experiments ranging from nicotine studies to narcotics research.

Currently, there are over 100 animals at the sanctuary, with a full-time staff of 12.

Ramer spends about two hours a day cold calling research facilities in search of potential releases.

Like BFP, Ramer must sign a contract to protect the confidentiality of the facility as a part of the rescue.

“In September, I was made aware of a facility in Texas that was looking to place over 100 dogs, so I hopped on a plane and literally just knocked on the door and introduced myself,” Ramer said. “Less than a month later, they released 112 dogs to me.”

Though he’s been met with resistance, Ramer said, many labs become amicable when they see a willingness to not name the facility.

The sanctuary hasn’t taken on a public advocacy role to stop animal testing, he said.

“Our mission is to develop relationships with testing facilities to offer an alternative to euthanasia,” Ramer said.

Though he has strong feelings about animal testing having personally witnessed the challenges in getting the animals to trust and interact, Ramer said there are already many animal-rights groups that work on the advocacy side.

When animals are introduced into the outside world for the first time, Ramer said they express fear and uncertainty, which is difficult to see, however, it’s rewarding to watch them adjust to a new life in preparation for adoption.

‘They Deserve Better’

Animal rescuers often report facing insurmountable odds in their efforts as they bear witness to indescribable suffering and grief.

Compassion fatigue has become a documented condition for animal rescuers, a job reported to carry the highest suicide rate among American workers, shared only with firefighters and police officers.

Despite these hazards, Keith sees it as the responsibility of all humans to take action to protect those creatures that can’t speak for themselves, she said.

“All animals are individuals who feel pain,” Keith said. “Most suffer in silence, and therefore, it is not only our job but our responsibility to speak out for them and take action to protect them no matter the cost, no matter the distance, no matter. These are our dogs and they deserve better.”

Epoch Times Photo
A beagle at the Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Wyoming in 2021.