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Professional Laboratory and Research Services Undercover Investigation

Update: In a landmark move, a North Carolina grand jury indicted four individuals who worked at PLRS, including a supervisor, on 14 felony cruelty-to-animals charges. This case marked the first time in U.S. history that laboratory workers faced felony cruelty charges for their abuse and neglect of animals in a laboratory. The first prosecution stemmed from PETA’s very first undercover investigation, the groundbreaking 1981 Silver Spring monkeys case.

For nine months, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside the filthy, deafeningly loud kennels of PLRS. Inconspicuously tucked away in rural North Carolina, PLRS took money from huge pharmaceutical companies to test insecticides and other chemicals used in companion-animal products. Bayer, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Schering-Plough (now Merck), Sergeant’s, Wellmark, and Merial, the maker of Frontline flea and tick products, are some of the corporations that have paid PLRS to force-feed experimental compounds to dogs and cats and smear chemicals onto the animals’ skin.

During this investigation, PETA’s investigator found that toxicity tests were just part of what the animals endured. Laboratory workers appeared to despise the animals in their care—they yelled and cursed at cowering dogs and cats, calling them “asshole,” “motherfuckers,” and “bitch”; used pressure hoses to spray water (as well as bleach and other harsh chemicals) on them; and dragged dogs who were too frightened to walk through the facility.

Video evidence shows that terrified cats were pulled from cages by the scruff of the neck while workers screamed in their faces and that a cat was viciously slammed into the metal door of a cage. One worker grabbed a cat and pushed him against a chain-link fence. When the cat fearfully clutched at the fencing with his claws, the worker jerked him off the fencing, saying that she hoped that the cat’s nails had been ripped out.

Dogs at PLRS spent years in cages, either to be used repeatedly in tests or to be kept infested with worms for some future study. They are just like the dogs we share our homes with, but they lived day in and day out without exercise or enrichment, companionship, a scratch behind the ears, or even a kind word from the only people they ever saw.

Many dogs had raw, oozing sores from being forced to live constantly on wet concrete, often in pools of their own urine and waste. Workers didn’t even move the dogs when they pressure-sprayed the runs, frightening the animals; soaking them with water, bleach, and soap; and exposing already painful sores to harsh, irritating chemicals.

PLRS didn’t bother to keep a veterinarian on staff. Instead, it chose to bring its primary veterinarian in for only one hour most weeks. Animals endured bloody feces, worm infestations, oozing sores, abscessed teeth, hematomas, and pus- and blood-filled infections without receiving adequate veterinary examinations and treatment. Sometimes, the conditions were ineffectively handled by workers who had no credentials or veterinary training.

After a supervisor gave one dog an anesthetic that was past its expiration date (and likely administered too little of it), the supervisor pulled out one of the animal’s teeth with a pair of pliers. The dog trembled and twitched in apparent pain, and the supervisor continued with the procedure despite the dog’s obvious reaction. Workers repeatedly cut into one dog’s tender, blood-filled ear, draining blood and pus but never treating the underlying cause of the dog’s suffering and apparently causing the ear to become infected.

Dogs were intentionally subjected to worm infestations for tests, but conditions were so sloppy that dogs who weren’t supposed to be part of the study also became infested and were then left untreated.

In one test commissioned by a corporation whose products are sold in grocery stores and drugstores nationwide, a chemical was applied to the necks of 57 cats. The cats immediately suffered seizures, foamed at the mouth, lost vision, and bled from their noses. Despite this, the substance was put on the cats a second time the very same day.

To cut costs, PLRS killed nearly 100 cats, rabbits, and dogs. The company had decided that some of these animals’ six daily cups of food were too expensive.

Federal oversight of horrendous facilities such as PLRS is virtually non-existent. In preparation for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector’s annual visit, which PLRS staff knew to expect in June or July, PLRS employees painted over the rusty surfaces that the USDA had warned them about the previous year and reported that ailing animals had conditions that might merit veterinary care—which the facility’s attending veterinarian reportedly advised she would not provide—so that PLRS staff would be “covered” from blame should the inspector inquire about the animals’ condition. The inspector’s 2010 visit to PLRS, which housed approximately 400 animals at the time, lasted two hours and 15 minutes.

Just one week after PETA released the results of its shocking undercover investigation of PLRS and filed a complaint with the USDA—which resulted in citations against PLRS for dozens of violations of federal animal welfare laws—the North Carolina–based contract animal testing facility surrendered nearly 200 dogs and more than 50 cats and shut its doors. This is a monumental victory and the second time in U.S. history that a laboratory has been forced to surrender animals and close under pressure on the heels of a PETA investigation and while facing a formal USDA investigation. The first time was PETA‘s landmark Silver Spring monkeys case.

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  • roserenee34 says:

    This is awful. I feel like i have to throw up. How can anyone treat animals this way?

  • emanuela giarraputo says:

    l’uomo sa essere un vero mostro

  • Mrs P says:

    I am thrilled that this horrible place is closed, but are any of the employees being charged with anything? I mean you have documented cases of cruelty from the staff, what is happening there?

  • Diana P. says:

    I am absolutely thrilled that this monstrosity of a “lab” is closing its doors for good. I hope that the surrendered victims are brought to local shelters for assessment on the possibility of adoption for these innocent animals. I applaud the relentless efforts of PETA for uncovering and responding to this tragedy. Perhaps one day tragedies such as this one will be a thing of the past.

  • Clare KIM says:

    It makes me cry.. can’t really finish watching all. How can they be so cruel…..

  • Jaime Moore says:

    How can we find out about adopting these poor animals? I would love to try and take some in.

  • Lynda says:

    Thank you PETA for your involvement once again. I hope that this company doesn’t just open elsewhere under another name. I refuse to use these products on my pets as I know how other animals suffer so that the pharmaceutival companies just to make a profit. If you car for your pets properly they will have no need for flea or tick prevention. Those products are not safe as evidenced by your article.

  • Audrianna says:

    This is so heartbreaking and so cruel that I just can’t even imagine how those poor animals feel. My heart hurts!

  • Marcia Frisella says:

    Please post all news pertaining to this investigation on my facebook page- Thanks

  • kelly says:

    Do we know if any charged will be filed?

  • Megan Kirkwood says:

    I could not watch even 20 sec of this video and started crying. I am from the area where this horrid place is and actually used to work there for all of 2 weeks. I left because of the hateful treatment I saw and could not bear seeing the pitiful faces of the animals. At that time I seriously thought of ways to try and set these animals free without getting arrested. I want to adopt!

  • ANNA MARIA says:

    IT IS A SHAME

  • Tammy says:

    I ran away from my computer. I couldn’t watch, I just couldn’t watch. The cruelty. The lack of compassion for a living creature. The lack of respect, the hate in their voices for a caged, tortured animal. How does one deal with such hate? I’m haunted.

  • Marcia Frisella says:

    There is enough adverse information on this facility now, and it has been brought to the attention of federal and state agencies and OSHA- There is much evidence and video to close this hell hole permanently– I cannot tolerate watching the video as many people can’t – Online petitions need to be generated to make the general public aware of the magnitude of animal abuse taking place today–

  • Muslimgirl says:

    I cried when I read this lab is going to be shut down and all the animals released. This is a dream come true! Thank you, PETA, for all your hard work! Special thanks to the heroic undercover investigator, whoever you are!

  • Kent Butler says:

    Congratulations on helping force PLRS to close – that’s great! Has PETA accepted the animals and, if so, what are your plans for them?

  • Carol H. says:

    Where are the animals now? Where is Clementine?

  • Veronica Galistan says:

    There has not been ANY accurate results from anyone/company/so-called doctors since years ago till now. There is NO use for vivisection at all! Free the animals and let them live their lives just like how you want to live yours!!

  • grespan enrico says:

    i love you peta….

  • Nicole Pressley says:

    I could not even bear to watch this video, the words were horrendous enough. I’m disgusted by these people’s and this company’s actions. They deserve to be punished to the full extend of the law and I’m more than happy that they are shut down for good. THANK YOU PETA!

  • Sandra says:

    I can’t and won’t watch the video. It infuriates me what these assholes do. They need to be subjected to the same cruelty they put these defenseless animals through. How is it possible for them to do such horrific things and not feel any remorse? What is wrong with these people? It’s disgusting and cruel and it all needs to be stopped.
    My heart overflows with happiness in knowing that many of the animals have been saved.
    Clementine deserves to be loved and happy.
    Thank you so much Peta for all you have done, do and keep doing every day. You are truly amazing and I love you for it. <3

  • Anonymous says:

    Please post information about how we can adopt these animals and release this same information to the media. People are asking on the local news site (Raleigh, NC) how to adopt the animals. Thanks!

  • KL says:

    So happy to hear this, this undercover investigation really got to me. All of them do but I just couldn’t stop thinking about the dreadful suffering that was happening to these poor animals. Any idea on what is going to happen to the animals now? I hope they will find loving homes I really do. Well done PETA, you are amazing ;-) Never stop!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Emmerich Juhas says:

    Yes, the culture of death and its profit merchants creating a holocaust for Gods precious creatures.I don’t know who or what you people are, but please stop you brutal acts toward these precious creatures.

  • GABRIELA PEREIRA says:

    PLEASE STOP THIS CRUELTY!!!

  • Lisa says:

    I can’t even watch the video. I’m so glad they are shutting down. Great job! Thank god we have an organization like PETA.

  • Joe says:

    So cruel that staff should take there own lives. They are not fit to share the earth.

  • Julie S. says:

    VICTORY FOR THE ANIMALS! HOPEFULLY THE PRESSURE FROM PETA AND PETA MEMBERS WILL STOP MORE OF THESE HORRIFIC LABS. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK PETA!

  • Tree Smith-Benedikt says:

    Where will the animals go? It would be good to know when they can be adopted and where they will be.

  • MARIA CRISTINA says:

    this people are not human.

  • Ruth says:

    God has not forgotten about his creation he has set a time for justice.

    May god grant those who do evil to his creation no more no less what they deserve.

    It will take GOD’S good grace to save the earth and it’s animals from the evil and greedy hands of all humans.

  • SHANNON says:

    We just set the example and message to all labs across this nation. We the public will not just stand by and voice our outrage. Groups like Peta need support and voices in numbers as we just witnessed a mountain that as moved! Thank god and thank PETA! Being a NC resident I know we stopped and dropped to rally behind PETA and show our support. Animal advocates come in numbers and many facets. This folks is the result. We just won a battle, but the war continues. Will you tread on in the battle field with us? Take a breathe enjoy the victory for a moment though. We all did our part in different ways and pat yourself on the back. This is a story to remembered for a long time.

  • brunella ceriolo says:

    che dire oramai non ho più parole

  • Jer says:

    Help The Animals, they are our brothers and sisters!

  • Linda Koekman says:

    What is going to happen to these animals, will they be up for adoption? The deserve to know that humans can show them love and kindness.

  • Donna Murray says:

    I could not even watch past the cat claw thing. My fist were ready to beat her so bad, she would have died. All of those people are just evil. How could they be so cruel to those poor babies? What about the beagle wagging the tail? Just wanting love and she does something that I couldn’t tell what. I hope that they rot in hell. Soon. That would be the only justice for the dogs/cats. What is going to happen to them now (the animals)? Are they going to be killed or adopted out? It did not say.

  • Fatima Pestana says:

    Impossible to watch this video to the end, I bursted in teras.
    It is beyond any kind of understanding what governments allow these companies to do.
    They are monsters, cruel and evil monsters. Please stop this!

  • L Hare says:

    where is the petition to sign?

  • laura azzaro says:

    no torture for animals

  • Judy says:

    I can see the benefit of testing on animals is what is being tested will save lives and the animals are treated humanely. However, torturing them, terrorizing them and treating them like there’s not a feeling life in side their bodies so someone to can look better or smell good or the like should be punished by life in Hell. Period.

  • Debi Webb says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am about this news of the research lab being hut down! Unfortunately, too many lives were lost due to unconventional and horrible tactics, and now hopefully, the ones left will find wonderful homes and be able to live out their lives with lots of love and tenderness! Could not watch the video, but know what it is all about1

  • Dr. Tiffany D Moon says:

    I’ve been posting this story here and there, and taking all of the action possible, but as the dust settles, I’m thinking more and more that this just isn’t enough.

    I want to bring animal cruelty charges against the business and its employees as individuals. I don’t think that this should be over until (1) the animals are cared for and (2) the monsters who abused them are in jail cells (the vindictive side of me wishes for some karma here). What can we do to make this happen? PETA? IDA?

    Thank you,

    Tiffany Moon
    San Diego, CA

  • Krasimira Buyuklieva-Darzeva says:

    A brilliant rescue operation! Thank you PETA! I admire the activity of the PETA undercover investigator in this hell! Thank you!

  • Diane Dunker says:

    Stop this madness. The only purpose it serves is to get freaks their jollies. It serves no useful purpose. It needs to STOP NOW!

  • giada vitali says:

    pls read with attention

  • NANCY BAILEY says:

    this is a total outrage & i don’t know how this kinda abuse & torture of innocent animals is permitted to happen in our united states of america !!!!!!!!

  • N.Mohamed says:

    pharmaceutical companies r just bad. i couldnt watch the whole video..i cant belive how sick these people can be i HATE that they may go without punishment..when humans will realize that animals do feel pain too?!!

  • tash says:

    I dont understand, why dont they just shut the place down, move the animals out and give them love and neturing. Its so obvious that this place is cruel. so why cant they just burn it down.

  • Elizabeth-O says:

    It makes me sick that companies creating products to help animals treat these animals so badly. There is no excuse for torture!

  • Jamie Garretson says:

    i could only make it thru a minute of this digusting video.. these people should not only be ashamed of themselves but be subjected to the exact same abuse they gave those poor animals. animals are one of the most wonderful and loving creatures on this planet, and there is absolutely NO excuse for this type of treatment. these monsters in the video are lucky i wasn’t there to rip them limb from limb. please stop this cruelty.

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