Beagle Freedom Project Uses Former Research Dogs to Spotlight its Anti-Research Campaign

Today’s guest post  is by Dr. Cindy Buckmaster, chair of Americans for Medical Progress.

Activists at the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) continue to gather support for their agenda to end animal-based research – and some in the research community are unknowingly helping them.

Many of you have seen recent TV news items or read news articles that feature beagles said to have been saved from laboratories where they never had a toy, played with other dogs, or experienced kindness and love from people in research settings. The Beagle Freedom Project uses the limitations of the news media to create this one-sided and false impression of the lives of research dogs.

Individuals at research institutions interested in rehoming post-study animals are approached by adopters representing themselves as private citizens, eager to adopt dogs retired from research. These applicants don’t indicate that they are working with the Beagle Freedom Project. We know of several institutions that have fallen prey to this misrepresentation by the BFP: within days of adoption, their freely released animals are listed as ‘rescued’ by BFP, along with the activists’ usual anti-research propaganda.

As Chair of the Board of Directors of Americans for Medical Progress, as well as an animal lover and someone who directs an animal care program for a major research center in the US, I would like to tell you the real story.

dog, animal testing, animal experiment
Beagle in research

These dogs are NOT ‘rescued’ from research facilities. They’re voluntarily released by the lab animal caregivers who love and cherish them. Research institutions have been rehoming dogs for years, over forty in some cases, without ‘help’ from the Beagle Freedom Project.  That’s how BFP acquired these dogs to begin with: they adopted them from research animal caregivers who were fooled into believing that the adopters’ only intention was to provide research dogs with a good home. The truth is that these dogs were adopted for use as props to support an animal rights agenda that is harmful to public health and safety.

Readers should be aware that BFP is led by animal rights activists, including Kevin Chase (formerly Kevin Kjonaas) who was convicted and served several years in prison for violating the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Kevin Kjonaas is the Director of Operations of BFP. The Founder and President of BFP is Shannon Keith. Ms. Keith was one of Kevin’s defense attorneys during his domestic terrorism trial. She also produced and directed “Behind the Mask”, a film released in 2006 that glorifies the Animal Liberation Front, a group known for illegal animal rights activity.

The bottom line is this: BFP personnel and associates misrepresent their intentions to the research institutions they target and then deceive the public about the condition and treatment of dogs in research. Why? To demonize the scientific quest for cures that you and I demand.

The welfare and well-being of research animals and our animal care programs are inspected and evaluated by local and federal authorities multiple times per year. Moreover, most of us VOLUNTEER for an intense accreditation review by international experts every three years to ensure that we are providing our animals with the best quality of life possible. A review of the photos and video BFP itself offers of recently released dogs reveals the truth behind BPF’s deception. The dogs’ body condition and coats are gorgeous because they receive top notch nutrition and veterinary care while they are with us. They’re friendly because they have enjoyed socialization and playtime with other dogs and with our caretakers who adore them. The public fails to see this with their own eyes because they have been brainwashed by animal rights extremists for decades…and they seem to prefer drama over the truth.

Tell me something: Why would people who allegedly care so little about these dogs, as BPF claims, offer them for adoption? It’s not a trivial process. Records of animal health and release have to be generated, and adopters have to be located and screened. If our institutions really wanted to hide their ‘dirty little research secrets’, why wouldn’t they just euthanize all of these dogs, rather than risk ‘exposure’ by offering them to the public, as has been suggested by BFP?

Our dogs are offered for adoption because we love them and are grateful for their contributions to human and animal well-being. We want these heroes to live long, healthy, fun lives with loving adopters who have the patience and information needed to help them adjust to their new families. What is heartbreaking is that some of our institutions have closed their adoption programs because they were either exploited directly by BFP, or they don’t know who to trust anymore.

When are you and I going to hold the Beagle Freedom Project accountable for caring more about its agenda than our precious heroes?!

We all love these dogs and we all wish that they weren’t still necessary for the development of treatments and cures for conditions like cancer, Hepatitis C and Ebola. For now, they are still needed. Until we find a better way – and we are working on it – this research will continue to improve the lives of our friends, families and pets. The public is grossly misinformed about the care of animals in biomedical research and thus, unwittingly, people are supporting agendas that will harm them and their loved ones. Our faith is with our fellow citizens – but they must hear both sides of this issue, presented fairly. The media has an especially critical role in getting this right and they have, in most cases, fallen short of the mark. I am hopeful that they will do better by our citizens in the future.

Cindy Buckmaster, PhD, CMAR, RLATG; Chair, Americans for Medical Progress

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16 thoughts on “Beagle Freedom Project Uses Former Research Dogs to Spotlight its Anti-Research Campaign

  1. BFP seem to be experts at manipulating the internet, as it took me quite a while to search out an intelligent rebuttal to their propaganda. Thank you for this article.

    1. Hi, Marta.

      FYI: The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) has partnered with the research community to create a new nationwide network for rehoming research dogs that is capable of placing more dogs into permanent, loving homes, annually, than all of the existing rehoming organizations (genuine and questionable) combined. The network is called Homes for Animal Heroes and we expect to launch shortly. Our animals deserve to be honored, thanked and respected for their contributions to human and animal well-being, rather than be used as props for an anti-research agenda that is, at least for now, unrealistic and dangerous. Please visit us on Facebook and our website ( to learn more. Thank you for your support!


        1. Thanks for your support, Marta. Please spread the word. Enjoy your weekend!

  2. if the research industry is as keen to be transparent in its animal experiments, why does it need groups like this and the BUAV to go undercover, exposing the failings in the system? Animals are regularly filmed being abused at worst, or in sub-standard accommodation at best. Their carers regularly display a total lack of respect for their charges. This huge industry claims to follow legal standards, but is poorly policed, the REACH guidelines continue to be flouted and companies are only brought to account by NGOs, rather than any govt regulation. Animals are not usually adopted, they are usually killed at the end of the experiment in order to analyse the results. The public is increasingly aware of this white-wash and to claim it is possible to cause suffering to something you ‘love’ is frankly ludicrous.

  3. You say; “What is heartbreaking is that some of our institutions have closed their adoption programs because they were either exploited directly by BFP, or they don’t know who to trust anymore.”

    This shows how little these labs care about the dogs, they would rather have them killed than allow any criticism of their labs in the media. The emotional blackmail is clear don’t criticise us or we will murder adoptable dogs!

    1. What? Can you really not see that this is another case of the animal rights movement making things worse for animals? The BFP lie to the public and you criticise the labs?! This isn’t to avoid ‘criticism in the media’ (dunno where the hell you got that from). It’s to prevent the BFP profiteering off misleading the public. It’s easy to see how those too thick to understand the science of animal experiments might be fooled into the religion of animal rights, but the BFP’s modus operandi has the potential to fool even intelligent people.There’s no need for the BFP to exist!

  4. The Beagles that are “allowed” to go to Beagle Freedom Project are the survivors of cruel experiments on helpless animals. On the contrary, animal advocates and a large, growing public HAVE IT RIGHT. Animals are not research tools! Shame on you for promoting breeding dogs for research laboratories. The public is not as dumb as it used to be.

    1. I disagree and I believe ethically conducted research not only minimizes any discomfort to the animals involved but also alleviate the cruel suffering of those, animal and human, that benefit from therapeutic advancements. I do not understand why Beagle Freedom Project would have people lie to adopt dogs that would be freely adopted to loving homes and then lie about the conditions they were adopted them from?

  5. People have the right to believe and support virtually any cause they wish. Ethical studies involving animals are supported by the majority of people in countries surveyed including USA, Canada and the EU. They compassionately demand medical advancements that alleviate the suffering of both humans and animals alike. I believe that animal based research does lead to these improved treatments. We have very similar organs, systems and physiological functions. 90% of veterinary and human medicine is the same. I encourage you to read a post about my dogs and how these inherent similarities lead to a decrease in suffering irrespective of species. I’d also like to add that Kiwi and Karla were both adopted directly from a research facility. They were in excellent physical and emotional health, cared for and loved by a team of professionals and had daily walks outside by paid and volunteer walkers.

  6. “The public is grossly misinformed”. Then inform them… BFP has been around for 4 years. If you’ve thought that they misinform the public you’ve had 4 years to tell your side of the story also. Lately they are on TV more and just now it bothers you how the research community is portrayed? You have the same outreach as they do, Facebook, Twitter, ect. So why now and not 4 years ago do you decide to bash them? I can tell you why, jealousy. I support Beagle Freedom Project and I don’t “demand cures”. I demand a stop to animal testing! You won’t get human cures by testing on Beagles. Also Andrea Arden posted this article on Twitter. If she feels this way then why does she follow Beagle Freedom Project?

    1. Hi, Jason.

      Thanks for your reply. It has taken us a while to learn about what the BFP is actually doing and rehoming dogs is not their primary mission. We have, in fact, been rehoming many animals, including dogs, ourselves for decades. I did a radio interview last week and discussed the truth about the necessity of animals in research, the way forward toward reducing the need for them, and how BFP is harming our dogs by deceiving the public and our institutions. BFP has been asked for an interview, as well. They have still not responded, despite multiple requests. Here is a link to the interview. Happy Holidays!


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