Cause Good: Beagle Freedom Project
Posted on January 25 2017
With soulful eyes and the sweetest dispositions, Beagles are among the most immediately lovable creatures on the planet. Yet many companies see their gentle and tolerant nature not as lovable, but as easy to exploit, and this has resulted in Beagles becoming one of the most popular victims of animal testing.
One of LOVE GOODLY's cause partners, Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), is dedicated to freeing Beagles and their other furry friends from laboratories around the world, helping them find the loving homes they deserve. The founder of BFP, Shannon Keith, gave us an exclusive look into how she was inspired to begin this project, and so much more.
What inspired you to start the Beagle Freedom Project?
I have always advocated for the release of animals from laboratories and for an end to animal experimentation all together. Testing on animals is not only ethically repulsive, but is harmful to humans. I started a non-profit animal advocacy organization in 2004 called ARME (Animal Rescue, Media & Education) whose mission is to educate and rescue. In 2010 when I had the opportunity to rescues beagles from a laboratory, I saw this as a chance to begin a full-fledged mission against animal testing.The first rescue of Bigsby and Freedom sparked what is now Beagle Freedom Project.
What is most fulfilling about your job?
Being able to rescue animals who would otherwise be killed without Beagle Freedom Project and knowing that we are changing the world one paw print at a time.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
My job is amazing but is bittersweet. It is a constant battle against the bio-med industry to work to replace animals in testing. The industry does not want information in the public domain about animal testing - specifically, they don’t want us talking about dogs being used in testing. They misrepresent us constantly and try to place barriers on what we do, such as fighting against out very tame Beagle Freedom Bill. Additionally, being able to rescue a group of dogs is awesome, but knowing that we have to leave some behind because labs refuse to release them is very difficult.
What career advice do you have for someone starting a non-profit?
Have a singular mission and flush it out before starting. Non-profits are amazing but they are also a lot of work. Even the smallest of organizations require the not-so-fun stuff like paperwork, accounting, and management. Have a team ready of people you trust and start with a healthy budget. Running a non-profit may be the best thing you ever do, but how you start sometimes dictates how successful you will be in your mission.
Where is your favorite place in the world to getaway/vacation?
Mexico and London (that’s 2, sorry!)
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Follow your heart and the rest will follow.
What is your favorite food/drink?
Want to help out in your own way? One impactful way is to go cruelty-free and vegan with your products. If you'd like some ideas, feel free to check out the LOVE GOODLY shop!