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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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  • Doubtmii says:

    I sure know Karma is a wonderful thing and They WILL GET Their’s they are nothing but scum who obviously have no souls. This Video has my blood boiling Something should be done all they get is a slap on the wrist a Felony if they can do this to Animals can you imagine what sort of humans they are so cold who know’s they could have their own Children that they are abusing Will something be done then. If it takes them abusing their own kind then i sure hope they get life in prison.

  • Shelb says:

    This is distgusting, how can anyone treat animals like that?!! I hope these workers are locked up!

  • Niccole says:

    Do any of you that feel saddened and are sickened by this behavior; do you share this video with others and do you try NOT to purchase these products? How bad can you feel if you contribute to the abuse. SAVE THESE ANIMALS, It is going to take all of us a long time, so get started if you have not already. -Love Me <3

  • Denise says:

    How can anyone do this to an animal? This is horrible. Those poor dogs, cats and bunnies. Shame on them for doing this. The cat that was shown at the very end made me want to reach out to him, hold him to help him. The other cat that the witch wanted to rip out the cats claws, i wish the cat would have scratched her eyes out. What IS WRONG with people? Did that “tester witch” ever get convicted of anything?

  • Karin says:

    There is no excuse what so ever for this! Whats a matter with people??

  • Mrs Genevieve de Lartigue says:

    I am chocked of all thos pictures I see of cruelty, this is outrageous, I feel sad,
    hoping those people who treat badly animals will have to go to court to be judged very severly. Suffering is the same for human being and animals, the law should be the same for humans and animals, full life in prison for those who torture and kill animals.

  • Lucy says:

    I rescued a coonhound that came from some lad study hospital in New York.I know this from the tatoo in her ear.This poor coonhound after rescuing her 4 years ago still has issues, and I can not find out what they really did to her.The only thing I was told was she was used for tube study of her stomach.I think there is more to this story.
    I have rescued many types of animals for well over 40 year and also taken animals away from people,which was quit dangerous,but what I saw when I worked in a lab hoping to become a vet assistant was horrifying.
    I worked at Charles River labs in Baltimore and they did stop using dogs , and rabbits,but the condition I saw the rats and monkeys in horrified me.I was friends with a military man that worked with OSHA.I went to him on several occations about the condition some of these poor animals were in after the young interns did there surgery and testing on.My last complaint was when after sergery on 7 or 10 rats they left them to bleed to death.There was some people who would sneak out the cocain rats & sick monkeys but they never had them more than a couple of years before they died at young ages.I use to hope to god after I left that some PETA workers would find a way to get in and see what they do to the mice,monkeys,rats, and birds there.It is so sad that I never finished study for vet jobs.

  • Ronaldo Ranucci says:

    they have no heart. each time that read, Love more animals.

  • Student says:

    Wow. THis is so meesed up. I feel really angry at theese people. How could they do that? I hope they feel extra salty that they got shut down.

  • debby says:

    My husband and I adopted one of the cats that came from this facility. Jerry has turned out to be one of the sweetest cats I have ever had the privilege of owning! He gets along great with my other cats and loves to give head-butts in the way of a greeting. Despite the cruelty he was subjected to, Jerry shows no signs of aggression or withdrawal. He loves hanging out with the other cats or with me and usually sleeps next to my head at night. His favorite toy is a long cloth tail teaser, which he will drag around with him if no one is available to play with him.

  • Charlene says:

    I am horrified! I know this goes on and I feel so overwhelmed by the cruelty that these people..I don’t think you can even call them people..do to animals. It makes me sick in my heart to see this happening.

  • julie says:

    what kind of people can live with the guilt… this just makes me sick,i cant say anymore as i feel livid…

  • MinaK says:

    Its a double whammy here. First it’s the unnecessary animal testing, which in itself is cruel and inhumane. Then, add to that the morons who are being mean and abusive to animals who are already suffering unnecessarily. Being a woman, I am mortified when I hear that women are being cruel to animals. In addition to closing the facility, surrendering the animals, I pray there was jail time for individuals.

  • Carolyn Grayber says:

    The more people get involved putting an end to animal cruelty and putting the pressure on Congress to change things ASAP! We will all sleep better at night knowing that innocent animals are safe from cruelty and danger.

  • Marycaitlyn says:

    That is just sick. Those poor beautiful animals getting hurt. The word needs to be spread. Good job on stoping this place for its cruelty, let’s keep shoring others down!

  • Dayana says:

    I cannot believe that this is happening in the world. This people dont deserve to live. Im so glad peta is helping those animals they are just like babies!! they are so loyal.

  • Susan Hero says:

    Zac, You know what, they are not human. I wish I could reach thru this monitor and and remove every animal then play a little one on one with these big tough workers get a paycheck for torture. Every animal in there needs to be euthanized for no reason other than to end there suffering. Excuse me while I go and throw up.

  • debbi says:

    many of the so called required tests being done are NOT required nor do they relate in ANY way to what they are supposed to be testing for. $16 BILLION TAX PAYER $$ ARE SPENT ON THIS

  • Kim-Kosovo says:

    I’m currently in Kosovo and am writing a paper on ethical treatment of animals in research. This article broke my heart to read and will defintely help to give the readers a better idea how animals are treated in research facilities. I also will ensure any products I use will not be tested on animals.

  • zac says:

    This is just to upsetting my heart broke when the cat was hurting when staff member trying to get its nails ripped out. What kind of humans are these people, i pray to god they too suffer in their lives and may that be soon. I fully give my support and will be buying products that are not tested on animals and ingredients free. I really pray more and more people join PETA. Good work PETA for getting this out. I am definitely going to spread the word try to make people aware of this.

  • Liliya Tyuhashkina says:

    people are sick and blind, i didnt even watch the video, i cant see all these cruelty anymore. lets stop to abuse animals!!!!!!!!!

  • Makaylaa says:

    These people are all discutingg….you dont treat an animal like that..how can they even sleep at night knowing that animals are sick and dying and suffering because of the…all of them are murderes….

  • kate13011 says:

    This is sooo disgusting I could not finish watching it. This is so not what a animal research facility is supposed to be like..as a vet tech myself I know that proper protocol is to actually tend to the needs and comfort of the animals and eliminate any kind of stress on the animals. Having happy animals is the only way to get good results, a stressed and miserable animal will alter the results immensely. I’m shocked, these people are dangerous; if they could hurt poor innocent animals imagine what they could do to other human beings. I’m so glad they were shut down as should any facility that is even remotely like this.

  • Jan says:

    To all: the very best thing we can ALL do is to lobby for legistlation and support groups like PETA to END this kind of usless, painful and inhumane abuse. IF every single person that got upset at seeing these crimes and the pain and suffering these animals endure would THEN never ever use products tested on animals, never use any kind of medication or anything to do with torture of animals so humans can feel better, smell better, look better….IF ALL US SPEND THE TIME ON EDUCATIONG FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND ANYONE THAT WILL LISTEN…WELL only then will things change. Thanks to the courage of undercover agents being able to do the work so things can change. In spite of the sights you have had to see and ignore for change. SPEAK UP PEOPLE, it is the only way. THANKS TO ALL.

  • Cameron says:

    If I was undercover I would of used the hose on the worker intill their skin was raw. How do they do it? I would break down in tears. That poor cat at the end was shaking in the corner of its cage because it was sprayed with bleach!!! People are sick

  • MB says:

    so sad. I couldnt finish this video. These people will get their punishment when they meet their maker

  • Micky says:

    My prayers for the animals who endured such torture and prayers for the souls of the criminals acts, they need to pay and repent for their sins. THe criminals should endure the crime they inflicted. Thank you PETA for stopping this, and your victory. And please help to create laws that protect these living beings.

  • v-raze says:

    God help these poor things… No matter how much I needed some medicine, I’d never take it if it was tested on animals…

  • Katie says:

    Those people should all be given the death penalty. How can people be that cruel to animals and think that it is okay. Worthless pieces of garbage, it is about time that the state of North Carolina stepped up and actually did something about this place.

  • Candy says:

    OH MY GOD, this was horrible ! I couldn’t watch the whole thing, barely even watched half of the video. It makes me feel like I’m going to cry knowing there’s not a whole lot I can do sitting here, in CANADA while those animals are in NC being treated that way.

    I read a post I certainly agree with, lock those people in a cage, test them, treat them the same way and see how they feel! AT LEAST they have the ABILITY to s p e a k. Animals are so misunderstood :(

    My prayers are with these animals <3

  • Saraaa): says:

    Shes pulling the cats nails out? Thats disgusting. And so cruel. I couldn’t finish it. It made me so angry and upset.

  • Laura says:

    I couldn’t finish the video, I literally broke down in tears.
    Sat next to my darling cat and she reached out with her paws to me as I cried – how could anyone hurt a being so kind, and loyal like my cat is to me?
    Absolutely breaks my hear that there are such vile b*st*rds in this world.
    These sick, evil people deserve to suffer so much pain, I do believe they will in their next “lives”.
    I cannot wait for the day animals are treated as equals, or (I hate to say it) humans wipe ourselves out and hopefully that will teach us.
    I believe humans have become so greedy and unfeeling that we will bring about our own destruction. It seems only 10% of us actually live and think in an advanced and just way – the way ALL should be.

    My absolute sincerest prayers, love and also apologies to all animals for letting this happen to them <3

    Sleep well little angels <3

  • Sophie says:

    If they do not like the animals then why bloody hell do they work with them?!?! I simply cannot understand why people would chose this as a job even! Just simply sick! Imagine how they would feel if those people were put through those conditions, no one deserves that kind of life. If i had a chance to adopt or re-home these animals, then i would spoil them like the queens Corgi!!! (just as long as they’d e safe to touch of coarse), Absolutely disgusting!

  • moni74 says:

    I will be with you PETA!!!

  • Wan Ting says:

    This is outrageous and very disgusting! I cried while watching this. People have no right to treat these animals this way!! Videos like these make me wish I could adopt every single one of em in there and save them from that place. Imagine what the undercover PETA investigator had to tolerate. I’m sure his heart was breaking just as badly if not, more than ours did when we watched this video :( I don’t know how man can be this cruel sometimes, people just don’t have a heart.

  • Donna says:

    Wonderful job PETA! There is a special place in Heaven that GOD holds for each of you and a special place in Hell for animal abusers like these. God bless you all and thank you for everything you do every day!

  • Kala says:

    I couldnt even watch the whole video. I’m not understanding how one person could be so cruel to animals when all they want is love. I hope that every single one of these employes have some kind of punishment. These people are disgusting and i wonder if they would like it done to them.

  • Astrid says:

    Why does so mean people works with animals? :( why, why, why?

  • mykela brown says:

    dont know how a human can sit up here and say that tha’s normal for those animals to be in that condition their in. How can they have no heart at all. I was really crying while i watched that because those animals desierve better than the condistion and treatment that tose people were puttingthem through

  • Wolf_Therian_Sadies says:

    I don’t understand how people can even imagine doing that to any animal! How do they live every day knowing they torture animals! Those animals are being tortured in experiments just for us and they still abuse them! I hate animal testing! It makes me sick that someone can live to treat an animal like that, I don’t even understand how they can do it, it’s horroble, cruel and not needed!

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