Dogs force-fed pesticides in laboratory testing, Humane Society says

(Gray News/WILX) The Humane Society of the United States called for the release of dozens of beagles after an undercover investigation showing the plight of dogs in laboratory testing.

The Humane Society has started an online petition to gain the immediate release of the 36 laboratory beagles. (Source: Humane Society of the United States)

The investigation took place at the Charles River Laboratories in Mattawan, MI, where the Human Society said it documented nearly two dozen short-term and long-term experiments that involved tests on dogs by a number of companies, including Corteva Agriscience, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

Its investigator was undercover nearly 100 days, their press release said.

The Humane Society said its investigator saw dogs killed at the end of studies and documented others suffering for months, including 36 beagles who were being force-fed a fungicide for Corteva Agriscience to test its toxicity. Those that survive the study will be killed when it's over.

The organization said Dow Chemical has previously acknowledged that studies of this type aren't necessary.

"The disturbing findings at this facility are sadly not unique," Humane Society President and CEO Kitty Block said. "Experiments are happening at hundreds of laboratories each year throughout the country, with more than 60,000 dogs suffering."

The Human Society has started an online petition to gain the immediate release of the 36 lab beagles.

In addition to toxicity tests for pesticides, dogs are also used to test drugs, dental implants and other products.

Corteva Agriscience said it cares about the welfare of animals.

"Consistent with industry practice, we conduct animal testing when such testing is required by regulatory authorities," the company said. "Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, is committed to animal welfare ..."

Dow Chemical said it's been "working closely with the Human Society of the U.S."

"Animal testing is not something Dow undertakes lightly, but neither is it something the Company can discontinue when it is required by regulatory authorities," the company said in a statement. "Dow keeps its use of animal testing to an absolute minimum. Dow is committed to finding alternatives to animal testing ..."

Jim Newman with the health research advocacy group Americans for Medical Progress said it's important for the public to understand the importance of animal testing.

"All Americans love animals which is why we are naturally conflicted when we see images of animals in labs. At the same time, we simply cannot forget that animals play an irreplaceable role in health research. Humans and animals are impacted by many of the same diseases," Newman said.

"Therefore, studying them helps us develop treatments that can be used in both human and veterinary medicine. 95 percent of all animal research involves rodents, but in very rare cases, dogs must be studied."

But the Humane Society disputes those claims, saying scientific studies have shown that more than 95 percent of drugs fail in humans, even after what appeared to be promising results in animals.

It hopes to replace dogs and other animals with more effective non-animal approaches, while still trying to help humans.

"It is our obligation to tell the stories of the animals and move science, policy and corporate ethics into the 21st century," Block said.

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