12 years ago today, I had the honor and privilege of rescuing two very special beagles who had been born in Marshall BioResources (MBR), a horrific breeding facility which tests on and sells animals to laboratories and other abusive and exploitive facilities. They never had a chance.
Their ears bore the tattoos of Marshall, the tell-tale sign that they were to be known as a number, a mere piece of property, “chattel,” without a name, without a real existence, to be sold, traded, tested on, and ultimately killed.
When I first met these two very special beagles, I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew they were over two years old and that they had never been outside. I knew that they were used for pharmaceutical testing, and that was all.
When I met them, they were in crates shaking and salivating, and the liaison who brought them was not sure they would be able to walk since they had never been outside. She said that they would give their paw because they were trained to give their paw for blood, and worst of all, she said, “They use them because they are forgiving.”
When I opened their crates in excitement thinking they would bolt out to freedom, they wouldn’t move. They were frozen in fear. They had no idea what the sun was, what the outside was, what the grass they were about to step on was…. their little paws swollen from living in cages on steel bars in filth in their own urine and feces….
It took nearly 20 minutes of coaxing before Bigsby finally took his first steps of freedom onto the grass. He gingerly walked over to the other beagle, Freedom, and touched his nose, and Freedom then exited the crate.
The rest is history.
Bigsby, our first free beagle, started a movement and Beagle Freedom Project was born that day.
Bigsby will live in my heart forever as we pay tribute on this day, our 12th anniversary to his wonderful life. He is free now, as he should have always been, in the sky above us, cheering us on to free all the beagles.
To my Beagle Freedom Project, all who have come and gone and those to come, I love you, I thank you. All of our employees, volunteers, fosters, adopters, supporters, and more, you are everything to me and to us.
Lots of Love!
Yours in Freedom,
~Shannon Keith, President & Founder