It’s the kind of video no dog lover would ever wish to see, but we are releasing it today because it’s important for you to know just what goes on at laboratories across the United States where dogs are poisoned – and killed – for pesticide and pharmaceutical products and other purposes each year. We are also sharing this video because we need your help to get 36 dogs out of a testing facility where they are now being force-fed a fungicide every day.
In the video, recorded as part of an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, you’ll see Harvey, a beagle with soft, brown eyes, being taken out of his stainless-steel cage at the Charles River Laboratories in Michigan, where he was being used with 21 other dogs for a study. Dogs in laboratories that test on animals are usually numbered, not named, but Harvey (number 1016) was an exception because laboratory workers thought he was “a good boy” and stood out as friendly and “adorable.”
Subsequently, you see Harvey with a big surgical scar: his chest was opened and two chemical substances were poured into it. When another beagle from the same study is being carried to a room for euthanasia, one of the lab workers remarks, “He’s gonna die.”
That beagle, Harvey, and the 20 others did die. On the day Harvey was euthanized, he was let out of his cage for a few minutes to run around on the floor -- that day was “the best life he knew,” one lab employee observed.
And it was no different for most of the other dogs who were part of that test, sponsored by Paredox Therapeutics. Our investigator, who spent nearly 100 days at the facility, documented the dogs cowering, frightened, in their cages with surgical scars and implanted with large devices. Dogs being force-fed or infused with drugs, pesticides and other products, using crude methods, many that are unlikely to ever be used in humans. Dogs undergoing invasive surgeries or having their jaws broken to test dental implants. Dogs being used by workers to practice procedures like force feeding and blood collection.
Treating companion animals like this is unthinkable to most of us, and it would be illegal in any other situation. But the U.S. government not only sanctions these tests, many of its agencies either require them or carry out such testing themselves. For example, the Food and Drug Administration requests that companies provide numerous animal tests, including on dogs, as part of their drug approval process. In addition to toxicity testing, many other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, either carry out biomedical research on dogs (such as cardiac research) or provide funding for experiments to be carried out at other facilities.
According to the most recent reports, approximately 60,000 dogs are used in testing and research in the United States each year, with an additional 6,500 dogs reported as being held in laboratories but not yet used. The Michigan lab alone used thousands of beagles and hounds last year in testing for companies seeking federal approval for potentially poisonous products, like pharmaceuticals and pesticides (fungicides). Harvey and the other dogs who were at the lab during our investigation were bought from two major breeders, Marshall BioResources and Covance Research, which sell specifically to laboratories. Marshall had 22,000 dogs at its facility in New York at the time of a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection in 2018. Beagles are most commonly used in research because of their docile nature.
The Charles River Laboratories now has 36 beagles in its facility for a pesticide test commissioned by Dow AgroSciences (now known as Corteva), and we need your help to get those beagles out.
The test, which involves force-feeding the dogs with various doses of a fungicide each day for a full year, has been universally deemed as unnecessary, including by Dow scientists. Dow itself has actively advocated for eliminating this test in numerous countries, and we have been grateful for Dow’s work in the past. When we reached out to the company, we were told the test is required in Brazil. The country has taken steps to remove the one-year dog test from its pesticide requirements, but the changes haven’t been formally adopted yet. When Humane Society International swiftly contacted Brazilian regulatory authorities, we received a response that they were readily granting waiver requests from companies to forego this test. Dow asked for a more formal assurance from Brazil to end the dog study already underway, which HSI obtained, but Dow’s regulatory affairs division now says they need additional confirmation that their specific pesticide product will be approved without the dog study results before ending the study.
Our discussions with Dow have hit an impasse and meanwhile, time is running out for the Dow beagles. Unless we act fast, these 36 dogs will likely die for a test that is not needed.
It is too late to help Harvey and the other dogs seen during our investigation. But with your help, we can make a difference for these 36 dogs still at Charles River. Please join us in asking Dow to immediately end the test and release the beagles to us. We will work on getting them placed into loving homes, even as we continue to work toward the day when invasive testing on dogs becomes a thing of the past.
*Editor's note: Since the release of our investigation, the University of Vermont has denied ties to the horrific experiments performed by Paredox on dogs. We apologize for inadvertently misrepresenting its involvement by stating that the university gave money to Paredox and have changed the language in the blog accordingly.