Cat and Dog Dealers Supplying Research Facilities

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Status: Current
Originally Posted: 16 October 2008

Cat and Dog Dealers Supplying Research Facilities

From The National Humane Education Society

Each year in the United States, more than 25 million animals are tortured, deprived, and killed in the name of science. Animals used for research and education are among the most mistreated creatures in today’s society. Typical research animals include rats, mice, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, primates, dogs, and cats. These animals are more often than not euthanized after an experiment is completed if they are not killed in the process of the experiment. A common animal test, the LD50, or lethal dose 50, involves poisoning a population until 50 percent of them are dead to determine the toxicity of a certain product.

Dogs and cats come from several different sources: class A dealers, class B dealers, and via pound seizure. The majority of animals used in research are bred specifically for this purpose and sold by A dealers.

Class B dealers are not necessarily breeders, although they may be. These dealers act as brokers, buying or obtaining animals from one source, such as a breeder, a shelter, auctions, newspapers, or stolen pets, and selling them to laboratories for research. Class B dealers often deal with people called “bunchers” to supply their dogs. Bunchers collect dogs from all sources—by answering “free to a good home” ads, capturing strays, and even stealing family pets out of their own backyards. Both class A and class B dealers are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA states that class B dealers are legally required to provide proof that their animals came from individuals who breed and raise their own animals, other dealers raising their own animals, or a shelter. They are required to have paperwork on every animal in their possession documenting the original source of that animal. Often, however, this paperwork is nonexistent or forged.

Conditions at most class B dealers are unsanitary, with inadequate housing, nutrition, and veterinary care. Disease is a constant problem, with dogs often having diarrhea, heartworm, mange, and fleas. Most class B dealers are unconcerned with the health and safety of animals in transport. Cages are stacked on top of each other and not secured properly; trucks often are not controlled for temperature; and the duration of trip is not regulated properly, if at all.

Still some laboratory animals are obtained via pound seizure, a practice where animals (primarily dogs and cats) are taken from shelters and placed into research facilities. In fact, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah have mandatory pound seizure laws, requiring shelters to surrender healthy, adoptable animals to research facilities each year in order to receive state funding.

Many animals who end up confined in cages for research were once family pets, accustomed to living in homes. With the number of humane alternatives available to scientists and educators today, the unnecessary practice of breeding, selling, or stealing animals for research becomes more unjustified. Not only are there immeasurable cruelties being committed against these animals, but research based on animals has been proven to be unreliable, as it does not apply to humans.

Please, contact your legislators today and ask them to support S.714/H.R.1280 to ensure that all dogs and cats used for research are obtained legally. Letter writing tips can be found here.

To see what happens to animals used in labs, visit our Animal Exploitation Photo Gallery.

For more information about the National Humane Education Society, visit their site.

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