Beagle Freedom Project Will Bestow Grants Totaling $250,000 to Scientists and Teams Pioneering Animal Testing Replacements

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Beagle Freedom Project, a national nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is continuing its mission to further reduce and replace animals in cruel experiences, because it believes that medical research can no longer rely on the use of these animals in controversial experiments.

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“The Beagle Freedom Prize represents an investment in a future when animals are no longer maimed and killed to provide us with misleading data.”

Beagle Freedom Project, a national nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is continuing its mission to further reduce and replace animals in cruel experiences, because it believes that medical research can no longer rely on the use of these animals in controversial experiments.

Thanks to a substantial grant from the Microsoft Foundation last fall, the Beagle Freedom Project wants to pay it forward — by awarding grants of $50,000 each to five scientists and research teams committed to replacing dogs and other animals in violent, cruel experiments. (Larger-sized grants maybe made available to fewer awardees depending on the nature, merit and need of the winning proposals.)

Starting today, applications are being accepted on the organization’s website for the Beagle Freedom Prize. (Qualified researchers are invited to apply over the next three months, by the deadline of Oct. 1, 2016.) A panel of scientists will evaluate all applicant submissions and winning proposals will be announced and awarded in November 2016. To highlight the winners and their prospective fields of investigation, Beagle Freedom Project is planning a 2017 symposium.

The grants are to be used to replace the common use of dogs and other animals in research, testing, and/or education with non-animal approaches, such as in-vitro and in-silico methodologies, amongst others. There is a burgeoning movement within the research community to find more accurate models and methodologies that can replace the failed animal tests, but lack of funding and opposition from entrenched animal industry interests have stymied this effort.

Shannon Keith, president of the Beagle Freedom Project explains that animal models are antiquated and cannot give reliable data about drug response or disease pathology because of important differences between species.

“The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that 92 percent of drugs that test safe and effective in animals are failing in Phase I clinical trials, and each one of those failures represents a colossal waste of time and money,” she says. “The Beagle Freedom Prize represents an investment in a future when animals are no longer maimed and killed to provide us with misleading data.”

The Beagle Freedom Prize will use a two-step, peer-review process for selecting the most innovative and promising proposals. First, each application will be reviewed by the Beagle Freedom Science Advisory Board, which is a multi-disciplinary and standing committee of outstanding scientists committed to replacing the use of animals in experimentation.

Second, each proposal will be evaluated by at least three outside individuals with unique expertise in the field relevant to the specific proposal.

The Beagle Freedom Prize represents a new direction for the LA-based charity, which is in its fifth year of operation. Primarily known for emotional rescues of animals from laboratories, the group has diversified its approach to challenging animal testing with projects that include the development of a smartphone app that makes cruelty-free shopping easy, supporting legislation that mandates the post-research release of dogs and cats, and the filing of lawsuits that demand more transparency from tax-payer subsidized labs.

“Scientists that use animals are increasingly running into brick walls because they’re trying to answer 21st century questions with a 19th century research method,” says Keith. “We hope the Beagle Freedom Prizes will help these scientists and teams jumpstart new humane and cutting-edge research. Animals may have been able to give us useful information when we were in the medical dark ages, but now that we’re asking questions about how things work on a genetic and molecular level, they are failing.”

If successful, the Beagle Freedom Project hopes to make the Beagle Freedom Prize an annual contest with larger grants. For more information about the Beagle Freedom Project, please visit BeagleFreedomProject.org.

About Beagle Freedom Project
Beagle Freedom Project, founded in 2010, is a unique program run by the Los Angeles-based non-profit Animal Rescue, Media, and Education. Beagle Freedom Project negotiates with laboratories across the world to secure the release of dogs and other animals and give them a chance at a normal home life after everything they have endured for vanity and scientific curiosity. The organization uses the rescues to draw public attention to the plight of animals languishing in labs and to promote cruelty-free lifestyle choices everyone can make.

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Kevin Chase
Beagle Freedom Project
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