National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Beagle breeder faces closure

Posted: 26 September 2012. Updated: 26 September 2012

One of Europe’s largest suppliers of dogs for research may be closed permanently after an Italian court ordered its temporary closure.

The Green Hill facility, owned by US-based Marshall Bioresources, was temporarily closed in mid-July following allegations of maltreatment of the dogs, made by two Italian animal groups. Inspectors and police officers confiscated computers and other items for analysis and the animal groups were given responsibility for the care of the 2,500 beagles at the facility, who are being temporarily rehomed. (1)

Unfortunately, because of their good nature and docility, beagles are the breed of choice for vivisectors. Being of a medium build also makes them easy to handle, lift and restrain.

In the UK alone, 4,358 experiments were performed on almost 3,000 beagles during 2011, accounting for over 95% of the experiments on dogs. The beagles are either bred on-site or bought in from suppliers in the UK, Europe or as far afield as the US.

Six beagle pups were rescued by the NAVS from being supplied to laboratories, where they would have suffered lives of torment, suffering and pain. This rescue ensured these animals would be safe, but also highlighted the horrific procedures which less fortunate animals were undergoing at Toxicol Laboratories, where an NAVS field officer had been working undercover. At the time, the unit held 142 beagles, kept in small barren pens, each with a hard floor and no bedding, just a scattering of sawdust.

In one experiment, the beagles were force-fed a weedkiller, ethofumesate. A rubber hose was pushed down each dog’s throat, directly into the stomach, and the herbicide injected down. Ethofumesate had already been tested on animals before, had been on the market for twenty years, and had been approved under two separate pieces of UK and international legislation for a decade. No response was ever received as to why this product had been tested on animals again, after safety tests had already been conducted in the past.

In another experiment, dogs were force-fed with the anti-malarial drug artemether. The active ingredient of the drug had already been tested on animals and people; by 1993 it had been used successfully in the treatment of over 1 million patients…so why was this product being tested on animals again?

Two years after the investigation, in 1994, six beagle puppies were saved by the NAVS in an elaborate sting exposing the activities of Interfauna, who at that time were supplying nearly a million animals a year and sending 2,800 beagle puppies to their deaths all over Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Visiting the site as part of the sting, and after seeing beagles in their enclosures, NAVS Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, said: “They were the saddest beagles I have ever seen. So subdued and timid.”

Six lucky beagle puppies – Chloe, Eric, Jonesy, Pascal, Poppy and Nat – however escaped their barren pens and a life of suffering. They were rehomed to loving families where they have enjoyed wonderful lives.

You can read the story of ‘Operation Release’ here

(1) Scientific American, August 2, 2012

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