Oppose shocking eye experiments on dogs at the University of Missouri
Action Alert from All-Creatures.org


CAARE Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research and Experimentation
September 2016


How many times have we heard that animals are only used in experiments for life-saving treatments when there are no other choices? Statement likes this are the mantra of research institutions. But they are little more than empty words, designed to silence meaningful opposition.

CAARE was disturbed to encounter a perfectly glaring example in experiments made public by the Beagle Freedom Project.

eye experiments on beagles

Researchers at the University of Missouri at Columbia (UMC) wounded the eyes of six young beagles, claiming they were studying whether a topical compound would promote corneal healing. After examining the dogs’ healing over a period of weeks, they killed them to study their eye tissues.

These experiments are an outrage. The research team had many choices besides conducting an invasive, painful, permanently disabling, and ultimately lethal experiment on young healthy dogs.

Please send a letter to the Vice Chancellor for research at UMC asking that these experiments be ended.

Sign an online petition.

And/Or better yet, make direct contact:

Robert D. Hall, PhD, JD
Vice Chancellor for Research
310 Jess Hall
Columbia , MO 65211
(573) 882-9500

Chada Reddy, PhD
Chair, Animal Oversight Committee (ACUC)
W104 Vet Med Bldg
Columbia , MO 65211
(573) 882-7653

Lon Dixon, DVM
Attending Veterinarian
Office of Animal Resources
Columbia , MO 65211
(573) 882-8485


End outdated eye experiments on dogs

I was horrified to learn about cruel and unnecessary eye research on dogs at the University of Missouri Columbia. These harrowing experiments, which may be continuing, have inflicted painful lacerations and burns on the eye of healthy young beagles and then killed them to study their eye tissues.

These experiments are both outdated and unjustified. We don’t need to inflict injuries on dogs to study corneal healing. Sophisticated, modern organ cultures are available, as well as a range of methods to study the pathophysiology of the eye in clinical studies.

The UMC animal research oversight committee should never have approved these experiments. The Animal Welfare Act requires scientists to use alternatives to the use of painful experiments on animals.

I trust you will take corrective action to see that these experiments are ended, including the use of other animals in comparable research.

Your name and contact information


The details of the research are heartbreaking. One dog was chosen to serve as the “sentinel dog.” First her right eye was burned with a caustic chemical for 15 seconds. Thankfully this was done under anesthesia, as were all the eye injuries. After she recovered from that ordeal, they put the chemical into her left eye for 30 seconds. A few weeks later she was killed. The experimenters then applied the chemical to the right eyes of the other six dogs for 20 seconds. Two weeks later, they were all killed.

CAARE has sent a detailed letter to UMC describing the many ways this kind of research could have – and should have – been conducted without harming and killing dogs, or any animals.

They could have conducted a clinical study, and examined dogs with naturally occurring corneal abrasions. Clinical research has formed the foundation of current diagnosis and treatment of corneal disease in humans. We don’t kill people in clinical studies, and we shouldn’t be killing animals for them either.

eye experiments on beagles
Photo credit: Institute for In Vitro Sciences

Diagnostic and analytical tools like in vivo confocal microscopy, optical coherence tomography and ultrasound pachymetry are all non-invasive methods they could have used to perform microscopic analysis on living eye tissue, without killing the dogs

They could have examined human corneal organ cultures, which can be obtained from the National Disease Research Interchange, a non-profit tissue bank of ethically obtained human tissue from consenting donors.

Or they could have used a pre-fabricated model, made of reconstructed human cornea-like cells, available through the Institute for In Vitro Sciences.

These dogs did not have to suffer and they certainly did not have to die. They were just puppies – purposely bred for research so that they never knew the comfort of a loving home. Their story is a tragedy that should never have happened.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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