We are truly so happy to have “met” Xander’s “mom”, Rachel….but I bet that Xander is even more excited than us though! Rightfully so.
Starting this Thursday, the CFC Blog will begin featuring guest bloggers who are making changes and real differences in animal welfare. We will highlight issues, make introductions to phenomenal organizations and bring you moving stories. Check it out. blog.crueltyfreeconsumer.com.
(Mondays posts will remain about CFC’s brand and partners etc.)
Here is to our first Guest “Issue” Blogger…. Xander’s “mom” Rachel.
I will begin this post with a shamefully honest admission that I think many people will relate to—I used to think of “animal testing” as a problem that I didn’t need to worry about.
I truly don’t know why I chose to think of it that way, because I have always loved animals and cared about their rights, and I have been a vegetarian for nine years for ethical reasons (now transitioning to veganism). I think that I chose ignorance in regards to laboratory animals because it was easier. When I look back now, I wish that I could educate my younger self about the true face of animal testing—mice, rats, guinea pigs, monkeys, chimpanzees, dogs, and cats, all of them lovable, loving animals that deserve freedom just as much as their non-lab counterparts and would have it if it was not for the companies that choose to follow archaic methods and continue to experiment upon them even when they are not legally required to do so.
There are two types of animal testing: medical and consumer. Medical research is an entirely separate debate, and there is much less that we as consumers can do to change that (though advocacy is always needed, and you can find out more information at http://www.mspca.org/programs/animal-protection-legislation/animal-welfare/lab-animal-welfare/overview.html). What I truly believe we can impact and change, and what I am choosing to focus my advocacy on, is the cosmetics/household product testing that is NOT legally mandated.
I have a personal and particularly important reason to raise awareness about this issue—a black, furry, and very handsome reason.
His name is Xander, and he is a former laboratory research cat who was rescued in January 2014 by Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), an amazing non-profit organization whose mission is to save animals from labs when they are ‘done’ with experimentation. Normally the labs would euthanize these beautiful animals, even though they, more than most, deserve the chance at a happy, loving, free life after being experimented on for years. BFP has had a lot of media attention lately due to recent beagle rescues, and it so wonderful, because every person reached by those stories is one more who can, and will, make a difference.
Xander is a survivor in the truest sense of the word. He has the kindest, gentlest spirit, and despite three years living in a tiny cage with human contact limited to experimentation that he was unable to refuse, he LOVES people. He was rescued by BFP in January 2014, went to a foster home, and came to his forever home with me and the rest of his cat family—two brothers and one mom—on March 2, 2014. It was fate that brought us together, as I just happened to click on a link to BFP on a vegetarian recipe site, and the most recent rescue was five cats, unusual not just for BFP (which usually rescues beagles, hence the name) but for the world of animal testing in general, because cats are almost always euthanized after experimentation. I fell in love with him as soon as I saw his big eyes and beautiful black fur, and even though BFP is based on the other side of the country from me, as fate would have it, Xander was in a foster home just two hours away. We all agree that it was meant to be!
Xander has an amazing life now. I have many stories to share with you about his adjustment to the free world, and I hope to do so in the coming weeks. For now, he would love it if you would visit his Facebook page—Xander the Rescued Lab Cat at http://www.facebook.com/xanderthelabcat. “He” writes the page, and he always has adorable pictures, videos, and antics to share. His followers say that he brightens their days, and he is so happy to do so! He has also taught many people about animal-tested versus cruelty-free brands, and we just started a weekly post called Sunday Swap where we list cruelty-free alternatives in a specific category. I am hoping that this will help people to realize that going cruelty-free does not have to be frustrating or complicated—it can be as simple as walking one aisle over in the store—and every single person who picks a cruelty-free item over an animal-tested one is truly making a difference.
There are over 20,000 cats in labs in the United States today. Xander is one of the VERY few, and very lucky, to be saved, and he has already touched so many hearts with his story. I named him Xander because it means “defender of all,” and he is doing his best to be the voice for his fellow lab animals. Well, really, he is doing his best to be a normal, happy, adorable, loving house cat, which is all that he should ever have to worry abut again, and it is up to me to share his story.
Thank you for reading it.
Thank you so much Rachel…. this is such an amazing story…. We look forward to hearing more from you and Xander….
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