Lab Animal Breeding Company Receives $35m Fine For Animal Welfare Violations

Envigo has received a record fine


(updated )

2 Minutes Read

A beagle Envigo was the second largest breeder of dogs for experiments in the US - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

A company that breeds dogs for medical research and surrendered 4,000 beagles in 2022 has been charged a record fine for animal welfare and environmental pollution crimes.

Envigo, which breeds dogs at a facility in Virginia, US, pleaded guilty to conspiring to knowingly violate the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Clean Water Act. Parent company Inotiv will now pay a fine of USD $35 million, the largest ever for a breach of the AWA.

Read more: 10 Pigs Rescued From Animal Testing Lab

The Humane Society of the US (HSUS) rescued the beagles from Envigo in 2022 after they were found in “shocking” conditions. The dogs, including puppies, were denied veterinary care and adequate food, and some were killed instead of being provided with medical treatment.

Envigo’s violation of the clean water act involved failure to properly maintain the wastewater treatment plant at the Virginia facility. It discharged improperly treated wastewater contaminated with fecal matter into a local waterway and gave it to dogs to drink. The water was also used to power wash kennels, exposing the dogs to a high risk of disease, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which investigated the case.

Prioritizing profit

Beagle in a cage
Andrea Izzotti – Beagles are used in experiments because of their docile nature

The AWA is a federal law that provides basic protections for some species of animal used in research or being sold to the public. But Envigo failed to meet even these minimum standards for the dogs it bred and sold to be tested on in medical laboratories.

Read more: Canada Bans ‘Cruel And Unnecessary’ Animal Testing For Cosmetics

“Envigo promoted a business culture that prioritized profit and convenience over following the law,” US Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in a statement. “This callous approach led to dire consequences: the inhumane treatment of animals and the contamination of our waterway.”

More than 40,000 dogs are used in experiments in the US each year. In 2022, Envigo was the second largest breeding facility in the country. In addition to the financial penalty, Inotiv will be required to meet higher standards of animal care standards and will be monitored for compliance. According to the BBC, the company will not allowed be allowed to breed dogs for the next five years.

Part of its fine includes Inotiv paying approximately $1.9 million to HSUS for the assistance it provided in the investigation. 

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