Toxicity tests, inhalation, dissection and monitoring and even surgical interventions are some of the practices to which animals are subjected in laboratories and research centers. Dogs, cats, pigs, mice and many other animals on which toxic substances, active ingredients, materials are tested... And not only in the field of research, but also in the field of university teaching to train future professionals in human health and other animals.

This is the story of Elton, Jonesy, Birdie, Olivia, Freddie, Ringo and Davey, seven dogs who, thanks to the work of the Beagle Freedom Project, in August 2023 would leave behind a life in which they had been used as mere teaching and research tools. Some for twelve years, others for five. All of them were born in facilities linked to animal experimentation and until today they had not had the opportunity to be treated as individuals with their own interests, they couldn’t enjoy their lives and have positive experiences.

Beagle dogs are widely used in experimentation due to their docile, trusting, friendly and above all submissive character. Something common in all of them and common in all dogs of this breed turns against them, making them easy to handle, with the certainty that they rarely rebel or bite.

And this is how they have behaved once rescued by BFP Olivia and Birdie, Elton, Ringo or Freddie, all of them are sociable and totally accustomed to dealing with humans with whom day after day during their twelve years of age they have been subjected to different practices. Others, such as Elton and Freddie, have not shown so much trust, but rather fear before the proximity of humans, since in their case they were subjected to other more traumatic practices. What all seven have in common is a submissive behavior when a person approaches to establish contact with them.

Those who live with animals, with dogs in particular, are well aware of the living conditions that promote wellbeing and positive experiences for them. Physical activity, contact and play with other dogs, sniffing -especially in beagles, whose sense of smell is highly developed- a healthy diet, among many other aspects, are essential for their physical and emotional health. However, their living conditions have been far from this. With hardly any physical activity, living in solitary kennels or in pairs, in solitude and without contact with other dogs, sleeping on a concrete floor, without beds, without stimulation and without the necessary care considering their age and circumstances.

On the other hand, those who have adopted an animal that has been through a traumatic situation also know their ability to overcome and enjoy themselves when they arrive in a safe environment with positive stimuli. And this is what these seven dogs have demonstrated: Enjoying a swim in a pool to relieve the strong summer heat, being brushed, soaped; interacting with new companions in wide open spaces; treading on grass and sleeping on cushioned beds, beyond the hostile concrete kennel; rolling in the dirt, eating -because beagles are very gluttonous-, lying under a shade on the grass, receiving caresses, sniffing and developing their sense of smell and finding new stimuli that make them forget their previous life where their interests and welfare were only subordinated to serve as a work and research tool.

Right now Birdie, Jonesy, Olivia, Ringo, Elton, Freddie and Davey are living far away from those animal research facilities with their new foster families, who will surely try to make their lives as pleasant as possible for the rest of their days.


Dedicated to all the animals that are still being used in animal experimentation today.

Work by Clara Sanz for Beagle Freedom Project and Animals' View

Photo by Beagle Freedom Project and Animals' View collaborators.

Cover photo by Carlota Saorsa

Published in September 2023.