WASHINGTON—The Humane Society of the United States is marking one year since its epic operation to remove nearly 4,000 beagles from a mass breeding facility in Virginia owned by Envigo.The U.S. Department of Justice sued the company after it received multiple Animal Welfare Act violations for issues such as inadequate veterinary care, insufficient food and inhumane euthanasia practices at the facility. If not for this historic transfer, many of these dogs would have been bound for animal testing laboratories. Instead, the HSUS placed them with over 100 shelter and rescue partners around the country to find loving homes. The breeding facility is now closed.
Dogs like Franny, who spent her life at Envigo being forced to breed puppies to be sold to laboratories, and Enzo, a young puppy likely destined for a laboratory, are among the beagles who have underscored the significance of this major operation. Franny and Enzo were both adopted by staff members at the Humane Society of the United States. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, adopted a breeding mother beagle named Momma Mia. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his family adopted a puppy named Morty.
“These dogs have spent the last year learning how to walk on leashes, finding the most comfortable spot on the couch, and becoming treasured family members in their loving homes,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Dogs used in laboratories typically live short, painful lives. It’s heartbreaking to think about what would have happened to these beagles if Envigo had been able to sell them to laboratories. Animal experimentation is undeniably cruel and provides misleading results while non-animal models, such as organs-on-chips, computer modelling and human cell-based tests, are proving to be better for the animals and for humans. We were able to spare these lucky beagles from that fate, but more are being bred and sold to laboratories every day—it’s on all of us to make the change.”
As thousands of families celebrate the first anniversary of adopting their beagle, the HSUS is doubling down on efforts to ensure no other company steps in to simply replace those dogs. On average, nearly 60,000 dogs are used in experiments each year in the U.S. and tens of thousands more are held in laboratory breeding facilities, the largest housing 25,000 dogs at a time. Advocates are calling on state and federal officials to end experiments on dogs and invest in science that doesn’t cause any animal suffering.