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JoAnna Lou
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Seeing the World for the First Time
Beagle Freedom Project rescues dogs from laboratories

You may have seen the You Tube video of rescued beagles experiencing grass and sun for the first time (check it out below if you haven't seen it yet). It's amazing to see the dogs tentatively come out and experience the things we take for granted. I was so inspired by the video that I wanted to find out more about the efforts to rescue these dogs.

The Beagles in the You Tube video were rescued by Animal Rescue Media Education (ARME) as part of their Beagle Freedom Project. ARME works directly with laboratories who choose to release dogs that are no longer wanted for research purposes.The Beagle's friendly and forgiving personality that makes them wonderful pets also makes them ideal for living in a laboratory atmosphere, unfortunately.

Many companies are avoiding animal testing these days, but there are many products out there that still test on animals. It's important to know that the cruelty-free label can be misleading. Some companies claim that their product is cruelty-free because the final product wasn't tested on animals. However, the individual ingredients may have been tested on animals.

If you want to find true cruelty-free products, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' Leaping Bunny Program is a good starting point. The program maintains a standard for 100 percent cruelty-free products.

It's hard to avoid all companies that test on animals, but for products where there are alternatives, there's no question which option I would choose.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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