The National Institutes of Health spent $1.2 million dollars buying Beagle puppies for experimentation from a Virginia-based breeding mill currently under federal investigation for its cruel living conditions, according to multiple reports.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) detailed a number of allegations of cruel behavior at a breeding mill owned by Envigo, an Indianapolis-based breeder that raises animals for sale to pharmaceutical and biotechnology researchers, in an investigation published to its website. (Warning: Sensitive Content).
The report alleges that the beagles were kept in large sheds, hundreds at a time. The sheds were reportedly louder than an average rock concert when many of the dogs barked at the same time, and the constant noise caused ear injuries and often led to fights, which further injured the dogs.
PETA investigators further found more than 350 puppies dead over the course of their investigation, the report alleges. Many of the puppies allegedly died from being crushed by their mothers, being eviscerated, by accidental falls into the drains of their cages, by infections of hydrocephalus, or by exposure. Other puppies were allegedly euthanized by injecting solution into their hearts while the puppies were still conscious.
The report also alleges that the dogs were routinely sprayed with high-pressure hoses, leaving them soaking wet and causing food to rot repeatedly. Staffers, who reportedly did not have veterinary training, were routinely tasked with diagnosing and performing surgical or medical operations on the dogs, without proper anesthetics or pain relief medications.
A video accompanying the report shows graphic footage of a staff member inserting a hypodermic needle into the swollen head of a puppy in an attempt to drain fluid while the puppy yelps loudly in pain. The video also shows staff members spraying the dogs with a high-pressure hose, along with multiple images of dead puppies found in cages. Furthermore, the video allegedly shows supervisors at the facility refusing to comply with, and complaining about, federal regulations.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Envigo was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the summer. That investigation, the Post reported, found dozens of federal animal welfare violations. The federal investigations confirmed a number of the allegations in the PETA investigation. USDA inspectors also found that the dogs were kept in cages in temperatures above 85 degrees for several hours without air conditioning, that multiple dogs had severe medical problems, and that nursing mothers were often refused food for as much as 42 hours. However, the USDA did not issue any fines or penalties to the facility after the inspections, the Post reported.
The Post also reported that the NIH had contracted Envigo to buy beagles for research more than a dozen times, totaling about $1.2 million in taxpayer funds. An NIH spokesperson told the Post that dogs had been purchased from the facility “in the past, but no future purchases are planned.” The Post also reports that multiple major research universities, including Temple University, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State, also had contracts with Envigo.
Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA senior vice president of cruelty investigations, confirmed the findings in an interview with Fox News‘ Will Cain. She also confirmed the USDA investigations, adding that the investigation is ongoing. Asked by Cain why beagles were the choice breed, Nachminovitch said that the reason was that beagles are “small and docile,” “gentle loyal dogs” who are “so submissive that they are easy to torture” without threatening the safety of researchers.
The NIH, along with director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci, came under fire in October after a report found that the NIAID funded cruel experiments on dozens of beagle puppies at a lab in the country of Tunisia. The Daily Wire reported:
On Sunday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) called on Fauci to answer for a report that the NIH funded experiments on dozens of beagle puppies in a lab in Tunisia, North Africa. The report, released by the investigative group White Coat Waste Project, alleges that scientists infected 44 puppies with disease-causing parasites for experimental drug testing.
The lawmakers’ letter describes the research as “costly, cruel, and unnecessary.” The letter continues:
According to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, and subsequent media coverage, from October 2018 until February 2019, NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies. The dogs were all between six and eight months old. The commissioned tests involved injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them.
Of particular concern is the fact that the invoice to NIAID included a line item for “cordectomy.” As you are likely aware, a cordectomy, also known as “devocalization,” involves slitting a dog’s vocal cords in order to prevent them from barking, howling, or crying. This cruel procedure — which is opposed with rare exceptions by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and others — seems to have been performed so that experimenters would not have to listen to the pained cries of the beagle puppies. This is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.