Animal Rights News UK: Bonnie the Ex-Laboratory Beagle

Life in a Lab

Bonnie was a beautiful Beagle who spent most of her life being tested on in a UK lab in England. She was eventually rescued by Christine and her family – and this is Christine’s account which she so kindly shared with us to allow people to gain a slight understanding about these poor dogs.  We would like to say a massive thank you to Christine for sharing her story with us and we would like to dedicate this blog to Bonnie and all her fellow beagles and animals who are needlessly tested on in labs around the UK and the rest of the world.

Beagles are the most common breed of dog to be used in animal testing…why? Because they are a suitable size to work with; not too big and not too small…small enough to fit into cages, but big enough to access veins and body parts with ease too. They are also the favoured breed because they are one of the most placid natured dogs around and they inherently trust humans! How ironic is that? They trust us so much yet we bitterly and cruelly betray them in such evil and barbaric ways!

The lab Bonnie was rescued from was actually closed down by the RSPCA. There were 70 beagles in there at the time the facility was closed. The RSPCA advertised to get forever homes for these poor dogs. Apparently over 400 people applied to help these 70 souls, so Christine and her family felt very privileged and lucky to be chosen to care for Bonnie.

Christine collected Bonnie from an RSPCA in Warrington. She explained that it was nothing less than heart-breaking to see Bonnie and meet her. She was absolutely terrified of people, but not only was she scared of people, she was even petrified of the open air, the grass, a ball, the traffic…basically she was terrified of everything!

Into Hiding

The family took Bonnie home and the very first thing she did was find a place she could hide; behind the sofa! When she was taken into the garden it was the same thing, she was just always looking for places to hide. Her preferred hiding place in the garden was a bush which eventually had to be cut down because Christine literally couldn’t reach Bonnie once she got herself in there.

Absolutely everything terrified poor Bonnie!

She was not at all keen on men, and she also had a real fear of keys – if anyone came near her with keys rattling she began to tremble all over. It took a full 12 months to be able to walk towards her and stroke her. It was 2 years before she would accept a collar and lead and let her family take her outside. She couldn’t be let off the lead because she would just simply run away – and who could blame her after what she’d been subjected to by humans all her life before Christine!

Finally after a long time, a lot of perseverance, a lot of care and a lot of love, Bonnie would finally sit on Christine’s lap and be petted. This really was amazing not only for Bonnie but for the family too; for them to know that Bonnie was finally feeling safe and loved was all they’d ever wanted.

Learning to Trust

After 4 very long years of lots of work and winning Bonnie’s trust, she could finally be let off her lead in a secure area. She was able to run free feeling nothing restricting her in any way, feeling her paws on the grass, the sun on her back and her heart filled with trust for the family who’d taken her in and tried so hard to work with her in relieving some of her stress, fear and trauma.  When Bonnie was off the lead she wouldn’t return to Christine when she called her, but she would ‘wait’ if she was asked to! After all she had been through, she would actually sit there and wait until a human came back to her and she allowed them to basically take control of her again! That just shows how even after all that trauma she had encountered, she was still able to somehow find it in her power and in her heart to trust people again!

Heartache

It was a very sad time for Christine and her family, because at the age of 9 Bonnie got a very serious illness (which seemed unfair as she’d only had a short life of freedom).  The vet advised the family that the best and kindest thing for Bonnie would be to have her put to sleep. Christine said it was just heart-breaking to know what she’d been through and had really now just found happiness in her life, and it had to be ended so soon! However, they knew they had to do what was best for Bonnie.  They were able to take a little comfort in knowing they had given her a better and happy life in her few short years away from the lab.

The family still desperately miss Bonnie today, and she will always remain in their hearts and in their minds.

R.I.P Bonnie – you’re at peace now little one!

Think Twice

Christine shared Bonnie’s story in the hope that it might help people to think twice about the products they buy – there are so many cruelty free options available now – we do not need to pay to be part of this. If we buy products tested on animals like Bonnie we are condoning and paying for animal abuse whilst lining the pockets of these companies who are involved in such barbaric practices.

Learn about what you are paying for…it’s never been easier to research than it is now! You worked hard for your money, use it wisely and compassionately.

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The other reason we wanted to share this story was to please ask people to think about this too. If you want to share your home with an animal, there are endless amounts of animals all over the world in shelters who need homes. When we pay pet shops & breeders for animals, we are paying money for “someone’s life”! Paying money to a human who is using the animals to “make profit” from them is immoral– they are treating the animals as commodities and they are using the animals as “products” to sell in their “business” – this is not ethical and should not be encouraged. Don’t pay for and encourage breeders to bring more animals into this world when we cannot look after the ones WE humans have already bred into existence! We must take responsibility for our past actions!

Rescue, adopt, foster – do not “shop” for animals, they are NOT products with barcodes on their heads; they are living sentient beings just like you and I – they are different from us but the same in the ways that matter!

Beagle Petition

In relation to the beagles again, we recently shared this petition on our social media https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/244520

It was set up by Emma Hulme near the start of 2019 in an attempt to revoke planning permission for a beagle breeding facility at the Field Station in Grimston, Hull for Marshall BioResources https://www.marshallbio.com/ (formerly B&K Universal). 

We sadly learned as we signed the petition in our thousands (currently over 42K), that indeed the facility had been built and is now operational.  The Government sent the below response to petition signatories and is also it’s up on the petition page itself. However…from what I can gather, the petition is to stop the breeding of beagles for testing at this facility in Hull – they currently import dogs and use other animals to test on, but they are now looking to breed beagles here themselves, and that’s what the petition is for. B&K Universal have been at this location for a number of years,  it’s not the facility they’re trying to stop plans for, it’s the breeding of the beagles!

Debate and protests have been ongoing for a number of years at this location. In 2017 it was claimed that the breeder was sending around 2,000 dogs each year “for painful and traumatic laboratory experiments – typically involving dogs being force-fed chemicals in experiments lasting ninety days with no pain relief or anaesthetic”.

The breeder has previously responded to those claims saying they were “nonsense” and testing usually involves a food supplement or injection”.

Going back to Bonnie’s story, if all that happened to Beagles (and other animals) at the facilities was a food supplement and injection, would Bonnie have been so terrified of basically everything? Also, if that’s the case, why can we see countless photos like these online and undercover videos showing otherwise? The same reason we don’t get a bird’s eye view of slaughterhouses!  These industries are exploiting and abusing animals and they don’t want the public to know, so they lie and keep everything as well hidden from the public as they possibly can!

The truth cannot be covered up forever though, people are learning about the cruelty we impose on billions of animals around the world in the name of food, fashion, beauty, experimentation, sport, entertainment, hunting and any other way we can use and abuse them for profit!

The other key point here is, even if it was only injections and food supplements the beagles were getting, it is worth remembering that animals are NOT ours to use in that way or use in any way.

The only way we can end animal abuse and cruelty is to go vegan and become a voice for the voiceless, innocent and defenceless victims of this world – the animals!

For amazing information on this subject please visit and support www.animalfreeresearch.org 

Government Response To Petition (this was emailed to petition signatories and is also available on the petition page itself)

This response was given on 20 May 2019

The Secretary of state is unable to use his powers to revoke planning permission for the dog breeding facility at the Field Station in Grimston, Hull as the facility is built and operational.

▼Read the response in full

Ministers are required to assess planning applications against relevant legislation and local and national planning policy, and to decide whether to grant permission based on the planning merits of individual cases.

The reasons for the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for this development are fully explained in his decision letter. The letter and associated Inspector’s Report can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/planning-applications-called-in-decisions-and-recovered-appeals.

The Government has a strong commitment to maintaining a rigorous regulatory system under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). Guidance on the operation of ASPA can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-the-operation-of-the-animals-scientific-procedures-act-1986#guidance-on-the-operation-of-aspa.

The regulatory system ensures that animal research and testing is carried out only where no practicable alternative exists, and under controls which keep suffering to the minimum. This is achieved through robustly applying the principles of the 3Rs which require that, in every research proposal, animals are replaced with non-animal alternatives wherever possible; that the number of animals used is reduced to the minimum needed to achieve the results sought; and that, for those animals which must be used, procedures are refined as much as possible to minimise their suffering.

The Government only authorises procedures on animals after a rigorous assessment process, which is undertaken by the Home Office Inspectorate. The cornerstone of the assessment process is the harm benefit analysis. As part of the project licence application process, applicants are required to describe what steps they have taken to research non-animal alternative methodologies and why the use of animals is required to achieve their scientific objectives. Applicants are required to ensure that their specified programme of work does not involve the application of any regulated procedure to which there is a scientifically satisfactory alternative method or testing strategy not entailing the use of a protected animal. For every project licence granted there is a mandatory requirement to publish a Non-Technical Summary which sets out how the 3Rs have been considered: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/research-and-testing-using-animals#non-technical-summaries. Once a licence is granted, establishments are regularly inspected by Home Office inspectors for compliance with their licence and the legislation.

All establishments that use, breed or supply animals in scientific procedures must adhere to the rigorous UK framework under ASPA. The requirements are set out in the Guidance on the Operation of ASPA published by the Home Office: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-the-operation-of-the-animals-scientific-procedures-act-1986.

Dogs are a specially protected species under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Home Office will only grant a project licence for a programme of work using dogs where the purpose of the programme of work specified in the licence can only be achieved by their use, or where it is not practicable to obtain other suitable animals. In 2017 (the latest year for which official figures are published) procedures on dogs accounted for less than 0.1% of total number of procedures carried out.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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