Meghan Markle has adopted a seven-year-old beagle Mamma Mia, who is one of 4,000 dogs rescued from a US vivisection site in Cumberland, Virginia, which has since been closed after being exposed by investigators. In July 2022, a federal judge approved a plan to transfer the beagles from the breeding facility in Virginia to shelters nationwide for adoption. The plan came after the federal government filed a civil enforcement case in May 2022 against Envigo RMS, which owns and operates the breeding. They were breeding beagles for medical research, but undercover investigations and official inspections discovered many animal welfare problems. 

It is not known whether Meghan Markle has also managed to persuade her husband Prince Harry to give up hunting, as reported in 2020. The killing of wild animals for “fun” has been a tradition of the British Royal family for centuries, but it is also very common in the US, where the couple now live.

The campaign group Beagle Freedom Project, which rescued the dogs from the Virginia facility, is now hoping to win a campaign to close UK breeding site MBR Acres. Shannon Keith, project director of Beagle Freedom Project, said, “The Duchess, when she called me, said she’s been supporting Beagle Freedom Project for years and completely supports our mission. She specifically said the reason she wanted to adopt from us was to get the message out that it’s important to adopt from animal testing and that she supports ending animal testing.”

Activists outside MBR Acres in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK, have received the support of other celebrities, such as the comedian Ricky Gervais and singer Will Young, who in November chained himself to the gates of the infamous facility, owned by US biomedical research company Marshall BioResources.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.