U.S. Senators ‘Horrified’ Over ‘Breadth and Depth of Mistreatment’ Occurring at Notorious Beagle Breeder

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

A laboratory-supplying beagle-breeding factory farm—it was the PETA undercover investigation heard round the world. U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) are speaking out for thousands of beagles suffering at the massive facility operated by Envigo in Cumberland, Virginia, that breeds dogs for experimentation. In their letter sent today to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Administrator Kevin Shea, Sens. Warner and Kaine wrote:

It is clear to us that Envigo has been derelict in its duty to provide for the humane care of its dogs, and is unable to abide by the basic standards set forth by the Animal Welfare Act. The role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in ensuring humane treatment of animals extends beyond routine and focused inspections. Congress has provided USDA with broad authority to apply penalties to violators of the Animal Welfare Act. To our knowledge, APHIS has not yet exercised such authority despite Envigo’s repeated failures in providing adequate care to the 5,000 dogs entrusted to its care.

“In light of persistent and egregious violations of the AWA, we believe that APHIS should immediately suspend the license of the Envigo breeding facility,” the senators also wrote.

The PETA undercover investigation into the massive Envigo-owned breeding factory found 5,000 beagle dogs and puppies intensively confined to small, barren kennels and cages 24/7. At Envigo, where dead and dying puppies were an almost daily occurrence, workers with no veterinary credentials stuck needles into puppies’ heads; injected euthanasia drugs directly into puppies’ hearts without sedation, causing them immense pain; deprived nursing mother dogs of food for up to two days; sprayed dogs with high-pressure hoses, leaving them drenched; and caused them to suffer in other ways.

In July, the USDA cited Envigo for 26 violations of the AWA. In October, a team of USDA officials conducted a multiday inspection of the puppy mill. The USDA corroborated PETA’s findings and cited Envigo for 13 more violations. Between these months, the USDA found that at Envigo, only 17 staff members were employed to supply direct care to 5,000 dogs and puppies; more than 300 puppies’ deaths were attributed to “unknown causes”; one dead puppy was found eviscerated, and records showed that her kennelmates had “chewed on” her corpse; three dogs had been killed in fights; 71 others had been injured by dogs in adjacent kennels; 24 dogs and puppies were missing; and nine dogs who had been injured when “body parts” were pulled through a kennel wall by other dogs and bitten, causing “physical harm and unnecessary pain,” were put down.

Following a November inspection, Envigo was cited for 29 additional violations, including for killing young puppies via intracardiac injection without pre-sedation, a method that causes pain and discomfort and is deemed unacceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association; denying dozens of dogs care for “severe dental disease,” “severe medical conditions of the ears, eyes, feet, skin, haircoat, and poor body condition,” “lameness,” “weakness,” “lethargy,” and “traumatic wounds”; and depriving multiple dogs of adequate protection from the elements as well as depriving 742 young dogs and puppies of adequate space. Inspectors also found 21 puppies damp, shivering, and cold, and according to facility records, “25 additional puppies had been found dead with cause of death attributed to cold exposure … over the last 8 weeks.”

As revealed in a report posted on March 28, the USDA had cited Envigo again on March 18 for five more violations of the AWA (including for documented injuries like lacerations, bite wounds, bruised and damaged extremities, ear damage, and tail damage, for which eight dogs were put down), bringing the facility’s total to 73 violations since July 2021. 

Please, click below to join PETA, these and other members of Congress, and countless others in urging USDA authorities to take immediate enforcement action against Envigo:

And follow the Virginia Coalition for Beagle Protection on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on the landmark bills being introduced by legislators in Virginia who are working to protect dogs trapped at Envigo:

Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and educates the public on those issues. PETA does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

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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

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