Research animal breeder Envigo fined $22 million for abusing and killing beagles

Research animal breeder Envigo fined $22 million for abusing and killing beagles

Envigo, a research animal breeder based in the United States, pleaded guilty to animal welfare crimes after abuse and deaths of beagles were reported.

A two-year investigation by the US Justice Department revealed that Envigo mistreated thousands of beagles at their facility in Virginia. This led to the confiscation of about 4,000 dogs in 2022. The company was fined $22 million for animal welfare violations, the largest ever fine given in such a case.

Government inspections discovered that employees were euthanizing beagles at the facility instead of treating them for easily curable illnesses.

Numerous violations were documented, including unsafe flooring, lack of veterinary care, unsanitary conditions, and improper euthanasia methods. Inspectors also found that Envigo underfed nursing mothers and failed to document the cause of death for hundreds of puppies.

Undercover investigation

In 2021, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released the results of an undercover investigation at the facility.

PETA’s investigator found that the dogs had no toys, no beds, and no stimulation. The animals were kept in cages on hard floors. Female dogs were forced to have babies repeatedly for years, and many had to give birth on hard floors.

The investigator also observed workers with no veterinary qualifications performing medical procedures and euthanizing animals. PETA reported that workers injected euthanasia solutions into the hearts of conscious puppies.

According to Todd Kim, head of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Envigo prioritized profit over legal requirements. Envigo admitted to one misdemeanor count of conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act.

In 2021, Envigo was purchased by Inotiv, a major supplier of animals for medical research, providing animals to pharmaceutical companies, universities, and the federal government. The animals are used for different tests at these facilities.

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