USDA Cites NIH-Contracted Int’l Breeding Facility for Dozens of Violations of the Animal Welfare Act

Federal Investigation of Envigo Ongoing After PETA Exposed Systemic Food Deprivation, Dead and Dying Beagle Puppies Bred for Experiments

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Va.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released three damning inspection reports citing Envigo—a Virginia-based, international dog breeder and supplier to laboratories—for 26 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. This federal inspection occurred in July, while PETA’s just-released undercover investigation was underway. Another multiday inspection took place just this month, the findings of which aren’t yet available.

According to the July reports, federal veterinarians found 15 dogs denied treatment for “severe dental disease,” wounds, yellow discharge around the eyes, and more; a “depressed” puppy covered with feces in a waste pan; 13 dogs denied food for 42 hours while nursing 78 puppies; hundreds of dogs and puppies confined to rooms in which temperatures reached 92.3 degrees; a dog trapped by her foot in a kennel floor and puppies’ legs jutting through floors; more than 450 dogs deprived of adequate space; an “overpowering ammonia and fecal odor”; insects in dogs’ food; “widespread” maintenance problems; and more. Envigo’s own records reportedly showed more than 300 puppies’ deaths were attributed to unknown causes, that 24 dogs and puppies were “missing,” and that three dogs had been killed in fights and 71 dogs had been injured by dogs in adjacent kennels. The facility allegedly “refused to provide full copies” of study records for 16 animals used in experiments to federal inspectors.

In October, the USDA opened an investigation of Envigo after PETA reported to the government that its investigator witnessed and filmed workers with no veterinary credentials injecting euthanasia drugs directly into puppies’ hearts without sedation, causing them immense pain; intentionally depriving nursing mother dogs of food for up to two days; and leaving dogs soaked to the skin from water sprayed via high-pressure hoses. A facility supervisor was caught on video describing USDA inspectors’ concerns as “a damn game you gotta play to … satisfy ’em, because of the bull**** that they can make happen.”

“These inspection reports make it clear that Envigo has been failing to provide these beagles with basic care and veterinary attention to prevent and alleviate psychological and physical suffering,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “It is time for the company to do the right thing by getting out of the animal business.”

Since September 2020, the National Institutes of Health, already under fire for funding cruel experiments on dogs, has awarded three contracts to Envigo. According to published papers, dogs from Envigo have also 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 from PETA’s investigation are 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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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