Free the VA Beagles
Envigo is a breeding and testing facility in Cumberland, Virginia, where 5,000 beagles are currently being imprisoned, tortured and sold for experiments.The United States Department of Agriculture, the organization that is supposed to be protecting these animals has cited Envigo, an Inotiv company, with more than 70 violations of the Animal Welfare Act in the past year alone. These violations include filthy cages, maggot-infested food, extreme temperatures, lack of veterinary care, and a sky-high mortality rate with hundreds of suspicious deaths-particularly for newborn puppies, who were found frozen to death, stuck in cage doors, and trapped in dirty drains. Despite these horrific conditions, the USDA has refused to revoke Envigo’s license, even though they are directly responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. In fact it took 10 months, 4 visits to the facility, hundreds of beagle deaths, as well as media attention and outrage, before the government took action and opened an investigation.
The fact that this facility has not been closed down yet is shocking. For months the USDA documented these violations on public inspection reports, but did not confiscate any dogs or suspend or revoke their license. In April 2022 the controversy over these public reports led Virginia senators to demand federal action. As a result Virginia Governor Glenn Younklin signed 5 bills into law. These bills have come to be known as the ‘Beagle Bills”, to ensure that these animals in labs are protected by Virginia’s animal cruelty laws. In early May of this year National Geographic approached the USDA for comment about their violations. On May 8th the Beagle Freedom Project launched their campaign to “End Envigo” and exposed their atrocities. After increasing media attention and disgust, on May 18th authorities from the USDA and the Department of Justice (assisted by The Humane Society of the United States) finally took some action and confiscated 145 dogs in need of immediate medical care from the facility. The DOJ then filed a complaint on May 19th in federal court against Envigo. According to the complaint the dogs seized were in “acute distress”. On May 21st a U.S. district court issued a temporary restraining order against Envigo’s Cumberland facility, and ordered them to “immediately cease breeding, selling, or otherwise dealing in beagles” until it separates dogs that don’t get along, ensures every puppy has access to clean water, and submits an inventory of every dog to the government, among other requirements. This is not nearly enough, and is only a temporary solution. This facility needs to be shut down immediately.
Even more shocking is a cruel useless mastitis experiment that Envigo conducted called Protocol 003-21 in which mother dogs and their puppies were intentionally starved. Per a July 2021 USDA report, the facility starved nursing mothers for days, rendering them unable to provide enough milk for their puppies who were heard crying in distress. The food bins were moved just out of reach, so the mothers could see and smell the food but not get to it, resulting in extreme suffering and many dead puppies. There is no scientific justification for this experiment and it is literal torture. According to the USDA report about the experiment “the abrupt nature of this transition (depriving them of food) is expected to cause more than momentary or slight distress not only to the nursing dam, but also to the puppies..” Note that at the time of the USDA’s July and October 2021 inspections, Envigo had only one staff veterinarian to attend to 5,000 dogs.
Envigo’s license needs to be revoked. Their license is up for renewal on July 19, 2022, which would allow them to stay open and continue to torture thousands of innocent pups for another three years. We need to put pressure on the USDA, and demand that they shut down Envigo immediately, and release the dogs to the Beagle Freedom Project so they can help them find them loving homes.
- Email the USDA and ask them to revoke Envigo’s Cumberland, Virginia facility license, and to shut it down as they have over 70 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and to release the beagles to the Beagle Freedom Project.
- Contact your State and Federal Legislators and ask them to close Envigo’s Cumberland, Virginia breeding and testing facility, and release the beagles to the Beagle Freedom Project
- Sign the Beagle Freedom Project’s letter to Dr. Robert Gibbens, Director of Animal Welfare Operations, APHIS, USDA.
- Make cards that say “Do You Know What is Happening to Beagles in Virginia” or “Free the VA Beagles” and post and share on social media and tag @mydreamfornaimals and @beaglefreedom using hashtags #freetheVAbeagles #endenvigo and #mdfacampaigns and spread the word!
- Donate – Help My Dream for Animals to raise awareness, and to help support organizations like The Beagle Freedom Project who are on the ground rescuing these beagles.