Beagles in tests at Michigan lab face euthanasia, humane society says
The Humane Society of the United States is seeking the release of three dozen dogs that the group alleges are being fed fungicides in testing at a west Michigan laboratory.
On Tuesday, the society revealed an undercover investigation conducted last year at the international Charles River Laboratories' Mattawan location. The report claims the facility was contracted to use 36 beagles in a one-year pesticide test for a new fungicide developed through Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont.
The humane society claims the dogs who survive the tests are scheduled to be euthanized in July. It has launched a petition, which has gained more than 110,000 supporters, calling for the canines’ immediate release.
“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,” society officials said in a statement.
The humane society investigation alleges that more than 20 canines died after participating in an experiment at the laboratory sponsored by another company.
A video the humane society released this week purports to show some of the alleged conditions.
“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,” the humane society said. “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.”
In a statement to The Detroit News on Wednesday, representatives of Charles River Laboratories said the group “operates our facilities in a way that is consistent with our commitment to the welfare and ethical treatment of the animals in our care and in compliance with all federal regulations and international standards. As animal caregivers and scientific researchers, we are responsible to our clients and the public for the health and well-being of the animals under our stewardship, and we strive to fulfill that responsibility on a daily basis.”
The humane society claims the fungicides test involving the beagles “has been universally deemed as unnecessary” but Dow told them it is required in Brazil.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Dow said Corteva Agriscience, which initiated the study, had been working with the humane society to encourage Brazil’s Agencia Nacional de Vigilancia Sanitaria to amend its animal test requirements for pesticides.
In a statement about the humane society report, Corteva did not directly address the force-feeding claims but said, "We agree that there are better ways to attain the data needed for this study," citing working with the humane society on pushing for changes in the Brazilian testing requirements. "While we have received an encouraging letter from ANVISA, that letter is not definitive. Once the industry receives confirmation that this test is no longer required, we will cease testing immediately and make every effort to rehome the animals."
Corteva also said it would “continue to ensure that where regulations require the use of animals, all applicable welfare guidelines, laws, regulations and licensing requirements are met.”
But the humane society leaders say time is running out for the beagles.
“Unless we act fast, these 36 dogs will likely die for a test that is not needed,” officials said.