New Exposé: 360 Beagle Puppies Bred for Experiments Found Dead at Envigo

Feds Investigate Envigo: Dead and Dying Dogs, Some Left to Rot, Nursing Mother Dogs Deprived of Food for Days

For Immediate Release:
November 9, 2021

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Va. – A new PETA undercover investigation into a puppy-breeding facility in Cumberland, owned by Envigo, which supplies beagles to laboratories around the world for use in experiments, has documented that 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. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just completed a multiday inspection and opened an investigation into the facility, after a mill supervisor was caught on video by PETA describing USDA inspectors’ concerns as “a damn game you gotta play to … satisfy ’em, because of the bull**** that they can make happen.” Photos from PETA’s investigation are available here, and video footage is available here.

Since September 2020, the National Institutes of Health, already under fire for funding cruel experiments on beagles, has awarded three contracts to Envigo for live dogs.

Envigo confines some 5,000 beagles to barren kennels and cramped cages in football field–size sheds, breeds the mothers twice a year for up to seven years, and produces around 500 puppies each month to sell for experimentation. Here are some of the investigator’s findings:

  • A supervisor and a worker withheld food from nursing mother dogs for days and continued to do so even after the USDA had directed the staff not to—and then told workers to lie about it if asked.
  • Workers with no veterinary credentials stuck needles into puppies’ heads, apparently to drain hematomas, without any pain relief, causing the puppies to scream, and cut prolapsed tissue off their eyes with scissors, among other medical procedures.
  • PETA’s investigator found more than 360 dead puppies in the course of the investigation. Some had been crushed by their mothers inside the cramped cages that they were forced to live in. Others died of pneumonia or hepatitis, and some puppy corpses had been left to rot alongside their surviving siblings.
  • Workers and a supervisor routinely left dogs in their cages as they sprayed them with high-pressure hoses, leaving the soaked puppies to shiver on the hard plastic floors and their food to grow moldy and become infested with maggots. Puppies also fell through holes in the cages and ended up in drains, soaked with water, feces, and other waste.

“If the puppies at Envigo survive being born into a barren cage, blasted with a high-pressure hose, and being subjected to painful procedures, they’re sold to laboratories to be experimented on,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “These beagles experience exactly the same feelings of fear, pain, and loneliness as the dogs who share our homes can, and none of them should suffer in the experimentation business.”

According to published papers, since 2016, dogs from this mill have been experimented on at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Temple University, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Missouri, and Level Biotechnology in Taiwan, among other facilities.

Photos and video footage are also available via WeTransfer here and here. Video statements from Nachminovitch are available via WeTransfer here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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