Beagle Freedom Project’s new Animal Finder tool allows people to virtually adopt cats and dogs being used in research laboratories around the country, including those at Stony Brook University.
The four Stony Brook University hounds listed by Beagle Freedom Project have all been “adopted” within one week of the new tool’s launch. They are only about two years old, according to documents requested from the university by BFP.
According to Jeremy Beckham, BFP’s Identity Campaign coordinator, the practices performed on the animals are unknown, but the Animal Finder tool allows people to virtually claim ownership of these animals. Although the virtual adopters cannot take the animals home, Animal Finder gives them the resources to order public records requests for the animals’ veterinary records and daily care logs.
The goal of BFP is to create a new outlook on the use of animal testing by collaborating with supporters regarding the individual dogs and cats. The group is attempting to increase public awareness of what happens in laboratories and increase transparency. BFP became aware of the animals being used at SBU because the school reported their use to the United States Department of Agriculture. this report can be found on the USDA website.
According to Beckham, it is difficult to find information about the experiments. By New York State law, the university, being a public institution, must share this information by responding to public records requests.
“We’ve had more than 600 people choose, which exceeded our wildest expectations to be honest,” Beckham said. “I’ve been overwhelmed with phone calls and emails of people concerned about the animals they pick.”
With the launch of the new animal finder tool, Beckham has assisted people in writing public records requests for their newly adopted animals.
“I’ve been working on this issue for more than a decade and I have never seen a dog or a cat in a laboratory who I would say has a good life,” Beckham said.
“The school has no affiliation or involvement with the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP),” said Greg Filiano, a spokesman for the university, in an email. “Any listing of dogs ‘adopted’ from Stony Brook University on the BFP website is not the result of communications between Stony Brook and the BFP, nor is the information based on any official data on Stony Brook research animals.”
In response to the new tool, SBU said it is adhering to its own policies regarding this issue.
“Stony Brook University’s Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) complies with all regulations and humane practices regarding animal laboratory research,” Filiano said in an email. “DLAR has an established process for reporting any animal welfare concerns through the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).”
Beckham said he hopes that the Animal Finder tool will shed some light on Stony Brook University.
“And we hope that we can also give these dogs an identity instead of an identification number,” Beckham said.