Frequently Asked Questions


BeagleA – This is a question that is frequently asked. We have found no definitive scientific answer following extensive research. The only conclusion to be reached is that it is ‘historic’. The first well documented mention occurs in the 1800’s when the French physiologist Francois Magendie (1783-1855) and the Scottish anatomist Charles Bell (1744-1842) are credited with neurological research using Beagles. There is also a painting by Emile-Edouard Monchy depicting a Beagle being subjected to vivisection in 1832.

Other research has revealed quotes which also mention that Beagles are the dog breed most often used in animal testing due to their size and passive nature; they are easily maintained, they will eat almost anything (verified by anyone who owns a pet Beagle!) and have a trusting attitude towards humans.


A – In the past it has been rare that Beagles are released from laboratories in to the public arena within the UK. Usually they are offered to staff or friends and family. Research establishments prefer to keep this information ‘in house’.

The reality is that many are euthanised due to the health issues which have resulted from the scientific experiments they have undergone. In fact, the project licences issued prior to the research being carried out will often have ‘death’ listed as the end point.

In reality, there is no reason why Beagles cannot be re-homed, provided the establishments have complied with the regulations set out in ASPA (Animals in Scientific Procedures Act) which is that :- Consent will only be given for re-homing or setting free if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the criteria specified by ASPA section 17A section (3) have been met: ASPA section 17A (3) requires: a) that the animal’s state of health allows it to be set free or re-homed; b) that the animal poses no danger to public health, animal health or the environment additional to that existing prior to the capture; c) that there is an adequate scheme in place for ensuring the socialisation of the animal upon being set free or re-homed; d) that appropriate measures have been taken to safeguard the animal’s well-being when re-homed or set free.

For an animal to be set free or re-homed assurances must be provided to satisfy the Secretary of State that the animal’s state of health and well-being allows it to be set free.

However, In October 2015 ASRU produced an Advice Note on re-homing laboratory animals for circulation to those involved, and whilst this Advice Note is not yet legislation, the Home Office are encouraging research and breeding facilities to re-home animals who meet the criteria (as above) as laid down in Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, section 17B(3)

BeagleWe are all aware that some beagles have been released and re-homed into domestic environments in the past but these events have tended to occur fairly secretively. But, the Advice Note is recommending that a more transparent and open procedure is adopted in the future.

To achieve this opportunity, several guidelines are recommended – one of which is that only registered charities should be involved in assisting in re-homing, and we are delighted that RUN FREE ALLIANCE has now been included as one of the charities (relating to beagles) nominated in the referral list.

The UK Home Office requested that we produce a Re-homing Programme
(endorsed by a leading UK University) together with a strategy to progress this exciting programme which will be presented to all the research and breeding facilities in the UK by RFA, to ensure that rehoming of beagles is official, successful and give suitable beagles the opportunity of forever loving homes as companion pets.

There is an enormous amount of work that we plan to initiate, and funds will have to be raised to enable us to progress this work. Consequently, please watch this space to see how you can help us achieve this fantastic opportunity for Beagles who meet the criteria to RUN FREE!


A – There is a broad spectrum of categories which include: Fundamental biological research; Applied studies – human medicine or dentistry together with Protection of man, animals or environment (eg., pesticides). In 2020 (the latest UK Home Office statistics), 2738 Beagles were used in 4270 procedures.

Appallingly, OVER 90% of Stage 2 of trials on Beagles (and other animals) fail so therefore cannot be advanced to Phase 1 of human clinical trials.


A – Approx 2897 toxicology procedures were carried out on Beagles in 2020 in the following sectors: Agriculture, Industry, Food additives, other foodstuffs, Pharmaceutical safety/efficacy evaluation i.e. safety testing, efficacy testing, quality control, ADME (Absorbtion, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion) and residue, medical device safety, and medical development.


A – In 2020, 1,942 Beagles were born in the UK at a licensed establishment and 796 born in the rest of the world. A total of  2738.


A – It is imperative that the development of new approaches in research is a priority to eliminate the unreliability of animal testing together with the suffering of animals previously and current used.

Consequently a number of international scientific organisations have called for the development of mechanism based alternatives that are more predictive of the human species and this has created attention being focused on non-animal technologies, such as tissue engineering, stem cells (both also known as in-vitro), mathematical and computer modelling (also referred to as in-silico) together with studies on human volunteers and human simulators.

In-vitro: Human cells are grown using the latest technology which imitate human organs and organ systems and are subsequently used instead of animals in disease research, drug testing and toxicity testing which have resulted in replicating human physiology, diseases and drug responses, the results of which are more accurate than animal experiments. A growing area showing great success is ‘Organs on a Chip’

BeaglesIn-silico Modelling: Complex and high-tech computer models have been developed that simulate human physiology together with the advancement of new diseases, and studies have supported that these can accurately predict the effect that new drugs will react in the human species.

Human Volunteers: Micro-dosing is administered to human volunteers who are given a ‘micro’ drug dose and state of the art imaging (PET) monitor and record how the drug acts in the human species. Micro-dosing can replace some tests on animals and results can determine if the drugs tested are unsuitable in humans.

Humane Simulators: These have been developed to provide life-like and life-size computerised replicas of humans which can bleed, convulse, talk, bleed and ‘die’ and are extensively used in medical schools and research facilities rather than animals to explore physiology and pharmacology.

Organs on a Chip:  Wyss Institute researchers and a multidisciplinary team of collaborators have engineered microchips that recapitulate the microarchitecture and functions of living human organs, including the lung, intestine, kidney, skin, bone marrow and blood-brain barrier.

These microchips, called ‘organs on a chip, offer a potential alternative to traditional animal testing. Each individual organ on a chip is composed of a clear flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick that contains hollow micro-fluidic channels lined by living human cells interfaced with a human endothelial cell-lined artificial vascaluture, and mechanical forces can be applied to mimic the physical micro-environment of living organs, including breathing motions in lung and peristalsis-like deformations in the intestine. Because the micro-devices are translucent, they provide a window into the inner workings of human organs.

Beagles3D bioprinting of tissues and organs: Recent advances have enabled 3D printing of biocompatible materials, cells and supporting components into complex 3D functional living tissues. 3D bioprinting is being applied to regenerative medicine to address the need for tissues and organs suitable for transplantation. Compared with non-biological printing, 3D bioprinting involves additional complexities, such as the choice of materials, cell types, growth and differentiation factors, and technical challenges related to the sensitivities of living cells and the construction of tissues. Addressing these complexities requires the integration of technologies from the fields of engineering, biomaterials science, cell biology, physics and medicine. 3D bioprinting has already been used for the generation and transplantation of several tissues, including multilayered skin, bone, vascular grafts, tracheal splints, heart tissue and cartilaginous structures. Other applications include developing high-throughput 3D-bioprinted tissue models for research, drug discovery and toxicology.

Effectiveness: So far the effectiveness of these mechanism based techniques has been impressive and reliable, although it must be remembered that data building is still in its relatively early stages, particularly when compared to the data gathered over the many years of animal testing.


A – Despite the testing for cosmetic products, and their ingredients, on animals being banned in the UK in 1998 and across the EU in 2013, it is important to note that some companies who profess to be ‘cruelty free’ may sell into other Countries who do not have this ban.

Unfortunately, advertising, slogans and packaging can be very misleading and intentionally so. Companies don’t want to attract negative attention or poor public opinion and so will often try to conceal their participation in animal testing behind deceptive wording and ambiguous emblems. To give an example, this statement appears to unequivocally state that the company does not test on animals:

“XXX no longer tests on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world. Nor does XXX delegate this task to others.”

Seems pretty irrefutable, right? However, the above paragraph is immediately followed by:

“An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.”

So what does this mean? In short, absolutely nothing. The opening sentences are a ploy to lull consumers into a false belief that this company doesn’t engage in animal testing – whilst the closing sentence clearly states that they do. Unfortunately, the assurance given initially in that paragraph will be enough to convince many consumers into believing that company is cruelty free.

Companies will also label their products with logos such as rabbits, leaves or globes, so we associate the product with being cruelty free, organic or natural. Unfortunately, not all rabbit logos are a certification of cruelty free, but many shoppers will not differentiate between the Leaping Bunny (for example) logo and other, similar logos (which may hold no credentials at all).

There are many websites who will detail those companies who are (or are not) cruelty free.

Cruelty Free. Animal Testing. Beagles. Beagles Subjected to Toxicology Tests. Rehoming Beagles from Laboratories


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