PHOTOS: 25 Beagles Originally Bred for Experimentation at Envigo Get Some TLC at PETA

Published by Elena Waldman.

Update (August 5, 2022): Twenty-five beagles bred at Envigo to be sold into experimentation are now safe with PETA. After we give them some much-needed TLC and veterinary care—including baths, vaccines, spay/neuter surgeries, dental cleanings, deworming medication, and microchips—the dogs will be going to prescreened homes. PETA staff also transported 13 puppies and four adult dogs to our shelter partner the Virginia Beach SPCA.

Please continue to make your voice heard for the dogs who suffered and died at this prison-like breeding facility that sent animals to laboratories. Demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture finally suspend the company’s license to operate, preventing more animals from enduring the same fate!

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 beagle breeding 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 February 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 multi-day 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 intended 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.
  • On June 27, 2022, Judge 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.” This 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.
  • In July 2022, Judge Moon denied the company’s second attempt to gain permission to fulfill a sister entity’s contracts for approximately 2,100 beagles. The DOJ and Envigo submitted a plan to remove “all” approximately 4,000 surviving dogs from Envigo’s Cumberland, Virginia, facility so that they can be adopted.
  • Judge Moon later approved the joint plan of the U.S. Department of Justice and Envigo to remove approximately 4,000 surviving dogs from the Cumberland, Virginia, facility so that they can all be adopted.
  • In July 2022, Judge Moon permanently barred Envigo from “any activity requiring [a federal Animal Welfare Act] license” at the company’s Cumberland beagle-breeding factory and laboratory, including breeding and raising dogs for sale and experimenting on animals. Envigo’s parent company, Inotiv, announced in June that it would close the facility.

Tell the USDA to Prevent More Dogs Suffering

Please continue to make your voice heard for the dogs who suffered and died at this prison-like breeding facility. Demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture finally suspend the company’s license to operate, preventing more animals from enduring the same fate!

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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