Hundreds of beagle puppies found dead at US research breeding facility

Brown and whit dog with five babies in small cage
Last two days of a mom beagle with her babies, photo: PETA

A new undercover investigation by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) found 350 dead puppies and 5000 beagles suffering at a breeding mill in the United States.

PETA says that the breeding mill in Virginia produces around 500 puppies per month to sell to laboratories for experimentation. At the time of the investigation, the facility was owned and run by international laboratory animal supplier Envigo, headquartered in Indianapolis.

A major cause of death was puppies being crushed by their mothers because of the small cages the animals are kept in. Other puppies died of illnesses such as pneumonia or hepatitis.

According to PETA, Envigo keeps around 5,000 beagles in small cages inside massive sheds, similar to how animals are kept in factory farms. 

The dogs had no beds, no toys and no stimulation. They’re just kept in cages on hard empty floors. Puppies who survived were reportedly living amongst the dead and rotting bodies of their siblings.

Female dogs are bred repeatedly for years, and many give birth to their babies on hard floors, according to PETA’s investigator.

The investigator recorded workers with no veterinary qualifications performing medical procedures and euthanizing animals. Workers injected euthanasia solution into their hearts while puppies were conscious, PETA said.

On one occasion, a worker denied that he needed to sedate one conscious puppy before putting her down. PETA’s investigator told the worker that the puppy had raised her head and was still awake. The worker did not respond and still, with no sedation, put the needle into the animal’s chest and injected the euthanasia solution.

Staff members of the facility were seen pressure-washing cages with water while the dogs were still in them, leaving the puppies soaking wet.

Envigo delivers mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, macaques and beagles to research facilities all over the world. The animals are called research models on their website.

Since September 2020, the American National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded three contracts to Envigo for live dogs, according to PETA. 

The NIH is under fire for cruel experiments on beagles. The institution funds a lab in Tunisia that allegedly drugged beagles and locked their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sandflies.

Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president of Cruelty Investigations at PETA, said: “If the puppies at Envigo survive being born into a barren cage, blasted with a high-pressure hose, and being subjected to painful procedures, they’re sold to laboratories to be experimented on.”

“These beagles experience exactly the same feelings of fear, pain, and loneliness as the dogs who share our homes can, and none of them should suffer in the experimentation business,” Nachminovitch added.

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