Envigo Beagle-Breeding Hellhole to Shut Down After Being Exposed by PETA

Published by Elena Waldman.

Update (June 27, 2022): Senior U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon denied Envigo’s motion for consent of the court to proceed with selling 2,200 dogs well into 2023, in contrast to the company’s June 13 claims that it sought to sell “more than 500 dogs” within 30 days. Judge Moon’s order reads, “the Court’s injunction … only allows sale of animals pursuant to preexisting contracts with dates of delivery within 30 days of the preliminary injunction order.” Judge Moon states “It bears repeating that the Court’s injunction was built around Defendant’s assurances that it is committed to the speedy shut-down of its Cumberland facility. If that center of gravity should not hold, a new determination will have to be made.” Envigo and the DOJ now have until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29 to submit a joint transfer plan for approximately 3,200 beagles who remain at the Cumberland facility.

Today’s ruling properly thwarted Envigo’s shady attempts to ‘prolong operations’ and sell as many dogs as it could despite already admitting it could not comply with the pitifully minimal requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. It is time for Envigo to accept the DOJ’s plan to adopt every single surviving beagle out and shut down this chronically cruel dog prison, as it told the court it would.

Originally published June 21, 2022:

With our groundbreaking undercover investigation that blew the lid off neglect, intense confinement, suffering, and death at Envigo’s massive beagle-breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia, PETA helped spark a historical domino effect that paved the way for the closure of the dog prison.

Within a few months, our 2021 exposé was followed by the execution of a search warrant that resulted in law-enforcement officials’ seizure of nearly 450 dogs and puppies “in acute distress,” federal citations for dozens of violations of animal welfare laws, and a legal battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ ). No more dogs will be bred and born at this beagle factory farm, but we aren’t popping champagne corks just yet—Envigo’s $330 million parent company, Inotiv, is fighting to profit off more than 500 beagles still imprisoned at the site by selling them to laboratories.

Keep reading to see how the operation came crashing down.

  • In 2021, a PETA eyewitness investigation documented shocking abuse and neglect of dogs and puppies at an Envigo beagle factory farm—workers willfully deprived famished nursing mothers of food, workers with no veterinary credentials cut puppies out of sedated dogs’ abdomens before euthanizing the mothers, and more.  Over the course of the investigation, our eyewitness found more than 360 puppies dead among their live littermates and mothers. Some puppies had been inadvertently crushed to death by their mothers inside the cramped cages, while others suffered from hydrocephalus (in which fluid builds up inside the skull and puts pressure on the brain), were eviscerated, or just couldn’t survive the harsh conditions.
  • In Febuary 2022, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and six other representatives sent a pressing letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), urging the agency to confiscate the dogs at Envigo or suspend the facility’s license. Then, in March 2022, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) sent an additional letter calling on APHIS to immediately suspend the facility’s license due to “persistent and egregious violations of the AWA.”
  • In October 2021, PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prompting the agency to conduct at least two multiday inspections of the facility. They found that dogs with oozing sores on their paws and other painful conditions were denied veterinary care, puppies died after falling into a drain, and more. In just one 10-month period, the facility racked up citations for more than 70 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
  • In May 2022, a federal search warrant led law-enforcement officials to seize from the facility nearly 450 dogs and puppies found in “acute distress.” Federal agents found beagles with untreated wounds and severe dental disease. The dogs were denied adequate food and water, trapped in cage floors and cage bars, and kept in “torturous conditions.”
usda inspection of envigo facility

Many dogs “suffered from severe dental disease, including gingivitis, premature gum recession, and infections,” likely because of “poor nutrition and/or the failure” to provide them with adequate dental care.

usda inspection of envigo facility

This female beagle’s ear was infected and shredded, and many other dogs had recent or old ear wounds.

usda inspection of envigo facility

Enclosures were severely crowded, many containing four or more beagles and some containing as many as 10.

  • In June 2022, the DOJ found “serious and ongoing violations of the AWA” during a compliance check, including severely crowded enclosures and temperatures reaching 90 degrees inside the facility.
DOJ inspection of envigo facility

Some enclosures contained food bowls with kibble, but the bowls could be turned over by the dogs, “exposing the food to the feces on the mats.”

  • When Envigo’s parent company, Inotiv, announced that it would close the Cumberland breeding facility, the DOJ offered Envigo a plan to place the dogs up for adoption. But instead of giving all the dogs at its facility a chance to be adopted into a loving home, the company argued that it should be allowed to “fulfill orders” and “operate its business” by selling the dogs to laboratories—even though it’s already put them through hell. 
  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) discovered that Envigo intends to sell more than 2,200 beagles between June 24 and July 2023—in stark contrast to the company’s June 13 representations to Senior U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon that it wished to sell “more than 500” dogs in the ensuing 30 days. Envigo wanted to sell more than 1,200 beagles to customers overseas after emphasizing to Moon that its facility played a significant role in the U.S. domestic industry of breeding beagles for experimentation.

Dogs Still Imprisoned at the Envigo Former Breeding Facility Need Your Help

An estimated 3,200 beagles remain at Envigo’s operation, and the company intends to ship more than 500 off to laboratories to be tormented and killed in cruel, useless experiments—but you can do something about it. Urge Envigo’s parent company, Inotiv, to finally do the right thing by giving all the dogs a chance at adoption:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind