The majority of the world has grown up watching Disney movies. You know, the movies that usually begin with a tragedy so heart-wrenching, the viewers hearts are shattered immediately. Someone, or somethings’, life is irrevocably transformed and they aren’t sure where to turn. But the one theme those movies also have is a happy ending. An ending we cling to with a hopeful, albeit, broken heart. And when the outcome renews our hope and the main character finds their happy ending, our hearts begin to mend. There is a newfound strength and motivation to spread joy and love that follows a tragedy. A desire to bring more positivity to the world.

Ideally, these desired “life lessons” are there to help children and adults apply them to their lives. And so, when more than 200 dogs and cats found themselves in a flea treatment testing facility in Oklahoma, a group of motivated animal lovers stepped in to help them find their own happy endings. Or in this case, it’s a new happy beginning we are thrilled to share with you! **POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING**

From Tragedy to Transformation

It began as sadly another mission to shut down animal testing locations by the group Beagle Freedom Project (BFP). Thankfully they have an amazing success rate! Coming from the “cat world”, I was shocked to learn that the Beagle breed is under threat due to their sweet nature. That’s as appalling as black cats and dogs being discriminated against because of their fur color.

Established in 2010, Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, California, is the world’s foremost rescue and rehoming organization for animals used in laboratory testing. Since its inception, BFP has liberated more than 4,000 animals while working to end the archaic use of animals in testing, through education, rescue and advocacy.

Over the past three years, BFP has rescued animals from the former Nowata flea and tick product testing laboratory that had been the subject of many USDA citations and violations. “We have seen first-hand, the horrors these animals have endured: their skin is burned, seared off and infected, they have seizures from the toxins, they endure maddening pain and discomfort while fleas and ticks are bred on their bodies and they are forced to wear cones so they cannot relieve the pain and itching, and so much more. We had to end this.

What has been different in recent rescues, is that there are/were also felines present being tested on.

Of course they would cover the care for these cats, but being primarily a dog rescue, they weren’t sure where to turn. The groups they worked with had little to no experience with cats. Some even refused to share social media posts because they are dog only pages. Being in sunny California, where “kitten season” is a year-round issue, meant that feline rescues were almost always full. Honestly, they didn’t know who to reach out to. But there was one fella they followed on social media that was local to the area too.

Enter Nathan the Cat Lady

In late 2023, BFP reached out to online cat influencer Nathan Kehn, a.k.a. Nathan the Cat Lady about 7 cats that needed assistance. They had rescued the felines along with many dogs and knew the tortured animals all deserved loving homes at last. With Nathan’s help they were able to get all 7 of the cats adopted within just a short time!

So when the team reached an absolutely EPIC milestone in early 2024, they knew exactly who to call again. But this time, the rescue was exponentially larger and created another mission. When they contacted Nate to see if he could assist in sharing a post his immediate answer was, “Yes, but can I also do more for you?” It’s one thing people rebuilding after a tragedy are likely grateful to hear. However, this time they didn’t just need assistance in finding homes for recovering animals. The animals entire world was about to change for the better.

On Valentine’s Day 2024, they made the historic announcement.

Los Angeles, CA, and Nowata, Oklahoma, February 14, 2024 — Today, Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) announced they have shut down one third of the flea and tick product testing industry, ending years of cruel experimentation, and sparing thousands of dogs and cats from purpose breeding and future testing. Beagle Freedom Project has now taken over the 30-acre Nowata, Oklahoma property and facilities where animals were previously held captive, and is transforming the space into Freedom Fields, a rehabilitation and adoption center.

Today, more than 200 dogs and cats have been liberated from toxic and painful testing, and after a lifetime in the lab, they are safe with BFP.

“Rather than rescue the dogs and cats one by one, while the facility continued its cruel operations, several months ago, we took a chance and approached the owner of the facility about relinquishing his USDA license and ending operations. We were successful! As of February 1, 2024, testing at this facility has been shut down and all of the animals have been surrendered to BFP.”

The Future is Bright

When they joined forces with Nathan they knew to expect good things. But when he saw the list of their future plans for the facility, he knew he could bring them even more attention. So on February 13th, Nathan flew to Oklahoma for a week to help any way he could. With a background in construction, he is ready to build anything they may need to care for the animals in recovery. And on top of that, he has been working non-stop on the phones with his cat world contacts to gather donations. He knew he needed to get the word out to as many cat people as possible.

That’s when he remembered he was friends with me, Cole and Marmalade’s mom Jess, (this author) and asked if I wanted to write the story up. (We’ll share more stories directly from Nathan as projects begin and are completed.) He’s very excited about one thing in purrticular they are going to have at the location; a cat cafe!

Freedom Fields is where dogs, cats, rabbits and farm animals Beagle Freedom Project rescues from animal testing and experimentation will receive thorough medical care, nutritious food, safe and beautiful habitats, space to roam, and all the protection, love, play, enrichment, and freedom they have been deprived of their entire lives. Rehabilitated animals will be carefully matched to foster and adoptive families by BFP’s dedicated adoption coordination team.

“The importance of this monumental achievement cannot be overstated……Not only have we rescued hundreds of animals from being tested on and certain death, we have also created a pathway for others to do the same,” said BFP President and Founder Shannon Keith. “This has never before been accomplished. We are overjoyed that not only will we give over 200 dogs and cats their freedom and identity, but that we will also transform an animal testing facility into a place of happiness, rehabilitation, and love.

Extensive renovations and structural additions at Freedom Fields are underway and include: replacing small, metal cages and inadequate, plastic, makeshift outdoor huts surrounded by electrified fencing, with new barns and habitats for large farm animals, pigs, chickens and rabbits, a landscaped dog park, and indoor/outdoor spaces including cozy, well-appointed dog dens, cat café, catio, senior center, nursery, infirmary, groom room, and visitor center, where guests at Freedom Fields will learn about animal testing before touring the facilities and meeting animals available for adoption.”

The Real Tragedy Would be Not Helping Prevent this in the Future

It does not matter if you are a dog person, a cat person or just a person person. We MUST STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING now and in the future. The Beagle Freedom Project have launched a fundraiser to help which you can help create a bright new future.

Shannon went on to share, “Flea and tick products do not have to be tested on animals and there are safer and better methods of pest management. BFP is currently negotiating the closure of another large lab, and we are also working with several companies that provide natural alternatives to the toxic chemicals animals are subjected to in lab trials and in-home use of these products. Our goal is to shut down this entire industry, paving the way for safer and more ethical means of flea and tick control for dogs and cats, ultimately, reducing deadly toxins that pose a threat to animals, people, our communities, environment, soil, and agriculture.”

Freedom Fields will soon be available for private tours and animal meet and greets. Please be sure to follow Beagle Freedom Project on social media for their continued success and support. And of course Nathan the Cat Lady is always sharing inspiring and silly content you simply can’t miss!

Original Source: Cole & Marmalade