Why Are Beagles Being Poisoned and Killed?
Alternatives to Animal Testing, Experimentation and Dissection - An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Marc Bekoff, Psychology Today/Animal Emotions
March 2019

Beagles are being poisoned and killed in a Michigan Lab because Brazil requires these experiments despite there being alternatives... The company behind the tests said 'there are better ways to attain the data needed' but that it will continue doing them.

"At one time, the EPA required that dogs be force-fed pesticides for a full year but eliminated this requirement 10 years ago when scientists realized that the test did not add valuable scientific information."

I recently read a most disturbing essay by Nina Golgowski called "Investigation Finds Dozens Of Beagles Force-Fed Pesticides In Lab Test" with the subtitle, "The company behind the tests said 'there are better ways to attain the data needed' but that it will continue doing them." That company is Charles River Laboratories in Mattawan, Michigan. Another essay titled "HSUS undercover investigation shows beagles being poisoned with pesticides and drugs, killed at animal testing lab" summarizes how these dogs are treated in these incredibly inhumane experiments.

You also can learn about how these horrific experiments were exposed in a piece called "Toxicity Testing on Dogs Exposed: An undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States." In this exposť we read, "What the HSUS investigator found will shock those who are unaware of what happens in these labs. Beagles and hounds from two massive dog breeding companies (Marshall BioResources and Covance) were used to test a variety of substances. Some of the dogs were killed within days of arriving at the laboratory. Others were still confined to their lonely stainless-steel cages when our investigator left, such as dogs used in a year-long pesticide test that is universally considered scientifically unnecessary." There also is a video here. The images accompanying some of the above pieces are extremely difficult to view, but they clearly showed the horrific abuse to which these beagles and other dogs are subjected in these sorts of studies.

I was incredulous and disgusted when I learned of this study, as were all of the many people who emailed me or with whom I spoke about it. So too, are animal welfare organizations. I see sickening material like this almost daily, and I also look forward to people writing to me about it. I'm never disappointed because my inbox "rings off the hook" as news about abuse like this spreads in mass media. It's always interests me how few people actually know about experiments like this, but in their busy world, it's difficult to keep up with what they need to do and animal abuse often doesn't get the attention it deserves. Some people also refuse to believe that experiments like this are routinely performed, and when they learn about research like this they're surprised, appalled, and many want to get involved, often for the first time, in activities supporting animal protection.

I was unsure about writing much about this horrific study until three emails came in from youngsters. They were outraged, to say the least, and their messages were: (1) "I cannot understand why people do these things to dogs and other animals. If they tried to do this to my dog I would protect her from them, even if it meant they got upset and threatened me." (2) Where can I write to these people? I bet they wouldn't do it to their pet." (3) I cried when I read about these experiments and cannot understand how these researchers can be so heartless."

Other emails reflected these sentiments from people of all ages from all over the world. I fully support youngsters who protest animal abuse and who will inherit the world we leave them. My hope is that they'll inherit a world that is far more compassionate to all animals, nonhuman and human, than the world in which we now live. Like millions of people globally, I'm inspired by recent global activism against climate change by youngsters who are deeply concerned about what the world will be like for them as adults. Surely, we can do better than we are for future generations.

Brazilian regulations are driving this brutal research, not the EPA

It's also interesting that requirements originating in Brazil are driving this research by a laboratory in Michigan. As I noted above, the EPA decided 10 years ago that there sorts of studies "did not add valuable scientific information." One person asked me, "Why don't they just do them in Brazil?" Along these lines, Ms. Golgowski writes, "Corteva Agriscience responded to public outcry over the tests this week, saying in a statement that 'there are better ways to attain the data needed' but that the experiments are required by Brazilian authorities." She goes to note, "It’s not entirely clear why the company needs or is willing to cooperate with Brazilian authorities. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday." Why don't the researchers just say "No," we will not do this. There are other methods and researchers admit this is so, and the EPA doesn't require them for pesticide testing here.

Would the researchers feed their own dogs Adavelt?

I would like to believe that none of the people involved in these sordid experiments would treat their own dog(s) in this manner. So, if they wouldn't do it to their own dog, why would they do it to other sentient and emotional beings such as these beagles? I suppose that some do it because "it's their job." However, there's no reason why they couldn't refuse to torture the beagles because they know the studies are useless and also because they're causing deep pain and suffering and eventually the dogs will be killed. These beagles and other laboratory animals surely aren't dying "in the name of science."

Where to from here?

In the United States there are approximately 90 millions dogs living in 68% of all households. If even a small fraction of these people would sign this petition and make their voices heard in one way or another, it would make a huge difference for these beagles and other animals who are used in abusive research, including projects that don't generate useful information such as the one about which I'm writing.

As the late Gretchen Wyler aptly said, "Cruelty can't stand the spotlight." Let's keep the spotlight on the plight of these beagles and millions of other lab animals. Your voice matters. t


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