Here's a handful of the many, many products you probably have in your household that are tested on animals: Floor cleaner, furniture polish, motor oil, oven cleaner, cigarettes, eye shadow, lipstick, nail polish, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, air freshener, bleach, deodorant, cough medicine, cold medicine, laundry detergent, baby oil, pet food.
Yes, even pet food is tested on animals in experiments designed to cause pain, severe discomfort and often death.
The Food and Drug Administration does not require animal testing for product safety -- and there are effective alternatives -- but it's a cheap and easy way for companies to meet their regulatory requirements. It's also a fairly worthless way to ascertain human safety, given that the ways that chemicals harm mice or rabbits or cats or dogs rarely reflect their impact on human beings. And is it really necessary to establish, again and again, that drinking motor oil causes severe injury or death?
The animal test subject of choice for many testing laboratories is the beagle. Beagles are bred to be friendly, docile, and trusting of humans, so they're easier for technicians to handle as they force toxins into their blood streams on a routine basis, whether by injection, inhalation, or force feeding. Beagles usually don't fight back.
Test beagles are confined to individual cages, often in buildings with no natural light, so typically they live their entire lives without ever seeing the sun or sky or touching the earth with their paws. Sometimes they're "debarked," meaning they have their vocal cords severed so the technicians don't have to hear them cry. They're fed "food" that's specially designed to minimize waste, which means that it has no flavor, so along with playing outside and interacting with people and other dogs, eating is another basic pleasure they're deprived of for life.
In short, test beagles are born into an existence designed to be completely devoid of joy and assured of regular doses of pain and poison.
Shannon Keith created the Beagle Freedom Project to rescue beagles from the rare lab that agrees to allow the animals to live after using them up. Last year, Shannon helped engineer the biggest rescue of her life: 40 beagles relinquished to her care from a laboratory in Spain.
Dog Park Media created this video about the Beagle Freedom Project and the Spanish beagle rescue as the second episode of our RESCUED series. To watch other episodes and to stay posted on future videos, please "like" us on Facebook and like the Beagle Freedom Project at Facebook.com/BeagleFreedomProject.
And if you want to make your household cruelty-free, here's a resource to find products that are not tested on animals.
Follow Leighton Woodhouse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lwoodhouse