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Animal research fight gets increasingly violent

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Bred and born for life in a cage, beagles are the subject of experiments and sometimes outright torture. They are the most popular breed for this type of treatment because they are trusting and friendly.

In a laboratory in Ohio, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say beagles were force-fed the painkiller Oxycontin.

It happens across the U.S., but at least two beagles in California managed to get away. Bigsby and Freedom survived years of experimentation at a research facility in Northern California until they were saved by Shannon Keith. The activist and animal rights attorney won't say which facility she saved them from. Keith hopes by keeping the lab's name out of the news, more beagles will be
voluntarily released alive.

"I jumped at the chance to save them," she said. "It is a university, it is in California and these particular beagles were subjected to toxicity tests."
Dr. Jerry Vlasak is a practicing trauma surgeon in Los Angeles and spokesman for the says Animal Liberation Front, a group the FBI calls the nation's top domestic terror threat.

"I'm not a terrorist," Vlasak said. "I don't think I've inflicted terror on anybody who didn't deserve to have terror inflicted on them."

Vlasak compares animal rights to the U.S. Civil Rights movement and says murder may be justified to stop animal experimentation.

"All of these successful liberation struggles have always involved violence or the threat of violence," he said. "I would hope that hurting, killing or assassinating would not be necessary. I would say it would be morally justified if all other methods failed."

For that reason, FBI special agent Steven Gomez says the AFL is a threat.

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