Over 500 dogs and cats will have their first taste of freedom next month when they are released from an Irish laboratory in Mayo.
U.S company Charles River Laboratories shut down one of its laboratories in July. The company was carrying out cruel experiments on dogs for veterinary medicines and, according to media reports, has killed up to 269 dogs in experiments in the last year.
Bred in captivity, the 350 beagles and mixed-breed dogs and 253 cats have never gone for walks in the countryside, played in the garden, or known the joys of family life.
Cruelty Free International wrote to Charles River Laboratories urging the company to release the animals and offered to help. We are delighted that over 500 of them will now be looking for their forever homes in Ireland and the UK with the help of the ISPCA, Dogs Trust and Cats Protection.
Dr Andrew Kelly, chief executive of the ISPCA, who has met the dogs, told the Irish Independent newspaper, "Some of the dogs might need some help with building their confidence around people because they wouldn't necessarily have seen people that often."
We welcome the decision to give these animals a chance of freedom rather than simply killing them as so often happens. Instead of being found homes, animals used in experiments are routinely killed. Others who are bred for research but not used end up suffering the same fate.
Our investigation at an MSD Animal Health laboratory in the UK found that healthy dogs who could have been found loving homes were regularly killed. We saved three dogs who would otherwise have been killed by the laboratory. Oliver, Billie and Bonnie are now living happy lives with their forever families.
Whilst we are opposed to the use of all animals in experiments, we believe that steps can be made to change the lives of individual animals. Our Science team has produced a report on the success of homing dogs released from laboratories and provided advice to the UK Home Office on its regulations.
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