Save the Beagles!

Neha Panchamiya

Dogs, especially Beagles, are a favoured species in toxicology studies. They undergo a lot of stress and toxins during their tenure at laboratories. But animal lovers are now endeavouring to rehabilitate, re-home Beagles because only love can bring joy in the lives of these animals.

In January this year, Pune-based ResQ Charitable Trust brought home 21 Beagles from a laboratory. They were being tested on for six years and this was the first time in their life that the animals experienced sunlight and felt grass beneath their paws. After weeks of being treated, nourished and loved by the team ResQ, they have become a bundle of happiness now and are ready to be adopted. Since its inception ResQ Charitable Trust has been responsible for onsite rescue service for injured animals in the city with a full-fledged animal rescue centre and a hospital. Neha Panchamiya, co-founder of ResQ Charitable Trust along with Sachin Ramesh Shinde and Tina Mohandas, co-founders of Darkside and Bikerhood India recently organised ‘A Day at ResQ’, a one-of-its-kind event for the animals and all animal lovers in Pune. It was a fundraiser to aid ResQ with the rehabilitation and rehoming of not only Beagles, but also hundreds of other injured, sick, and abandoned animals.

Why are Beagles used for laboratory tests?
Beagles are used for lab testing because they are small in size and are friendly and docile. Besides, many genes of Beagles are quite similar to those of humans. Biomedical laboratories use them for cardiovascular and pulmonary studies, cancer research and testing of prosthetic devices.

Ordeal of laboratory Beagles…

Laboratory Beagles are used for pharmacokinetic and toxicological research studies by multinational pharmaceutical companies. They are kept indoors in controlled environmental conditions which are standardised in order to correlate with studies across the world. Since we are unaware of the exact studies they were involved in, it is not possible to state what exactly they went through. What we do know after a thorough medical check up is that their lives are stressed, they have behavioural problems, they are not used to the outside world or anything that resembles normal pet behaviour.

Rehabilitation process…
The Beagles are put through an acclimatisation period where they are made to understand different outdoor scenarios, learn toilet training, leash walking, understand how to deal with ‘regular’ non-lab-uniform people, children, learn new sounds, vehicle etiquette and all other things that a pet deals with in a home. Since these dogs need special care, the potential adopters are prepared and well briefed of their differences in behaviour and informed decisions are taken about adoption. These dogs may look like Beagles, but they don’t behave like what a typical Beagle does. They require additional love, care and security.

Welfare programme spreads…
Other animal welfare organisations like Blue Cross are also helping such Beagles find homes. They have rescued 50 laboratory Beagles and 50 more likely to salvage soon. While, five dog lovers from Ahmedabad rescued 11 Beagles from a laboratory in Vadodara, who were slated for euthanisation after they outgrew their usefulness in laboratory. With such genuine dog lovers around, we can be sure of making world a better place for these wonderful Creatures of God.

(Neha Panchamiya is co-founder and president of ResQ Charitable Trust, one of the largest animal organisations in Pune, which rescues more than 500 animals every month).