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An ex-laboratory dog, rescued from a life of testing, has been named the winner of the Daily Mirror Animal Hero’s ‘Inspirational Animal of the Year’ award.

You may remember Scarlett’s story which has been instrumental in calls for a debate on animal testing. Scarlett the Beagle endured two years in a toxicology laboratory before she was rescued by the Rescue and Freedom Project and became Beagle Ambassador for the science-based campaign For Life On Earth (FLOE).

Her rescuers say that in the place where Scarlett was kept, dogs are typically force fed chemical for up to 90 days with no pain relief or anaesthetic. Her experience has resulted in eating problems, a fear of being covered and noise phobia but now she’s helping FLOE’s call for a scientific debate – judged by independent experts – about claims that animal experiments can predict the responses of human patients.

Opposition to using animal testing has also come from within the scientific community. The Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal, Dr Fiona Godlee published her Editor’s Choice in 2014, on the failure of animals to predict human outcomes.

Over 100 MPs have signed Early Day Motions for the debate and Scarlett even has a few celebrity supporters in her corner, including Ricky Gervais, Paul O’Grady, Peter Egan, Chris Packham and Dr. Jane Goodall.

Ricky Gervais says, “Meeting Scarlett and sensing her painful past will stay with me forever. Like all dogs she is incredibly gentle with a heart of gold, but the horrors of two years in a toxicology laboratory are etched in her eyes and body language. This was clear, even in the relatively short time I spent with her. I’m delighted to have signed an Open Letter calling for animal experimenter Prof. Colin Blakemore to face the world’s leading medical opposition to such experiments, in a public science hearing judged by independent experts. I want people to be able to understand how these shocking experiments are now proven to also fail humans.”

Ricky Gervais with Scarlett Beagle. Credit: K9 Magazine

Campaigners hope that Scarlett’s story and award help to revoke a 70-year-old law which requires animal testing so that funding can be re-directed towards non-invasive human-based research.

Scarlett will be awarded in a star-studded event tonight at Grosvenor House, Park Lane. You can read more about Scarlett on her own website http://scarlettbeagle.org/ 

Photos by K9 Magazine

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