Update: This press release has been corrected. The original draft incorrectly named the University of Vermont as directly connected with these particular experiments.
WASHINGTON—Today the Humane Society of the United States revealed the results of an undercover investigation at an animal testing laboratory where thousands of dogs are killed every year. The investigation reveals the suffering and death of beagles and hounds used in toxicity tests for pesticides, drugs, dental implants and other products.
Over the span of the nearly 100 days, an investigator documented nearly two dozen short-term and long-term experiments that involved tests on dogs. The Humane Society of the United States investigator saw dogs killed at the end of studies, and others suffering for months including 36 gentle beagles being tested for a Dow AgroSciences pesticide.
Dow commissioned this laboratory to force-feed a fungicide to beagles for a year, with some dogs being subjected to very high doses—so high that up to four capsules had to be shoved down their throats. Those who survive until the designated end date of the study in July will be killed. Dow has publicly acknowledged that this one-year test is scientifically unnecessary. The United States government eliminated this test as a requirement more than 10 years ago and nearly all countries throughout the world have followed suit through efforts that have been led by Humane Society International in cooperation with members of the industry, including Dow.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and president of Humane Society International, said, “The disturbing findings at this facility are sadly not unique. Experiments are happening at hundreds of laboratories each year throughout the country, with more than 60,000 dogs suffering. But that does not have to be the fate for these 36 beagles. For months we have been urging Dow to end the unnecessary test and release the dogs to us. We have gone to considerable lengths to assist the company in doing so, but we simply cannot wait any longer; every single day these caged dogs are being poisoned and are one day closer to being killed. We must turn to the public to join us in urging Dow to stop the test immediately and to work with us to get these dogs into suitable homes.”
This investigation was carried out at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan, and this is only a snapshot of what is going on in the U.S. including at for-profit companies, government facilities and universities for various testing and research purposes. The dogs are often provided by commercial breeders—one of which, Marshall BioResources had more than 22,000 dogs at one facility in June 2018.
Beagles are used in testing because of their docile nature, which was evident during this investigation conducted between April and August 2018. The Humane Society of the United States shared its findings with Dow and has been negotiating with the company in hopes of securing the release of the 36 dogs in their study.
Video released of the investigation shows workers carrying out experiments on dogs on behalf of three companies—Paredox Therapeutics, Above and Beyond NB LLC and Dow AgroSciences.
Among the beagles tested on, the Humane Society of the United States documented the horrible short life of one dog named Harvey who clearly sought attention by humans and was characterized by the laboratory staff as “a good boy.”
Harvey was being used to test the safety of two substances when poured into the chest cavity in a study commissioned by Paredox Therapeutics. Hounds were also used when the protocol called for a larger dog breed, such as a study by Above and Beyond Therapeutics for surgical implantation of a device to pump drugs through the spinal canal. Charles River carried out tests on dogs for at least 25 companies during the time of the Humane Society of the United States investigation.
Scientific studies have shown that more than 95 percent of drugs fail in humans, even after what appear to be promising results in animals. The Humane Society of the United States is seeking to replace dogs and other animals with more effective non-animal approaches that will better serve humans.
“It is our obligation to tell the stories of the animals and move science, policy and corporate ethics into the 21st century,” Block added.