Six beagles were intentionally blinded in one eye and killed at the University of Missouri–Columbia (UMC) for a cruel and unnecessary experiment.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 30, 2016
The Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), a group that works to rescue dogs from laboratories, broke the story after it found the disturbing test among UMC’s published animal experiments. The experimenters blinded the left eye of each puppy, who were all less than a year old, then separated them into two groups. One group had topical hyaluronic acid dropped into the damaged eye to see if it had any healing effects.
None of the beagles recovered from the blindness, and all six were killed after the experiment ended. Their injured corneas were then cut out and stored away.
PETA is calling on UMC to release its proposal for this study as well as the minutes of the meeting in which the oversight committee approved it. There are several humane, cell-based tests that can be used for eye studies, and it’s unknown whether they were seriously considered before these dogs were blinded and killed. Experimenters are required to search for alternatives to tests on animals, although they’re not required to use them.
“We have to remember, these universities are publicly funded—the documents they have should be available for review by the public—and yet they fight tooth and nail to keep us from seeing them because they know how bad they look when people find out what they do to animals,” PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo told KSHB News.
It’s baffling why these dogs were killed. The product used by the experimenters is already available to veterinarians, and organizations like BFP are committed to finding homes for animals who have suffered in experiments. BFP suggests that by killing these animals, UMC was trying to keep the horrors of its testing under wraps.
Each one of these beagles was an individual with a desire to live and a need for affection and care, yet the university abused them and then tossed them out like garbage.
More than 60,000 dogs are subjected to experiments in laboratories in the U.S. every year. The Animal Welfare Act—the only federal law to offer any sort of protection for dogs in laboratories—does not prohibit any experiments, no matter how pointless or painful.
What You Can Do
Please politely urge your member of Congress to take action to end experiments on dogs.