The final beagle has been freed from an animal testing breeding facility in Virginia, following what’s thought to be one of the largest dog rescue efforts in US history.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has confirmed that an older beagle named Violet was the last to be removed from the Envigo site in Cumberland.
In a video posted to Instagram, a spokesperson said: “Violet here is an older lady, she has a tattoo on her ear which was previously the only way she was identified, but now she has a name. We picked Violet because it symbolizes hope and resilience. She has been soaking up lots of love and toys and getting to run around.”
They added: “This is a really really happy day. It’s been weeks for our rescue team and our shelter outreach team. This has been non-stop hard work and a lot of hoping and dreaming for a good outcome for all of these dogs and getting them the new beginnings that they all deserve.”
“Today feels just like this huge weight is off our chest, off our shoulders, knowing that we got these dogs out of this mass breeding facility that was riddled with alleged animal welfare act violations and a lawsuit by the Department of Justice.”
Around 4,000 beagles have been rescued from the facility since the operation began earlier this summer.
It was shut down following a number of animal rights violations. Government inspectors found that several beagles suffering from easily treated conditions were killed and nursing mother beagles were denied food. The food they did receive contained maggots, mold, and feces.
Some were killed by other dogs due to overcrowding. Around 25 puppies also died from cold exposure over an eight-week period.
Rehoming laboratory dogs
Animal welfare charities are on a mission to re-home the dogs, and more than 100 shelters and rescues in the US have been involved. The dogs have received medical exams, vaccinations, and other treatments before being put up for adoption.
Speaking about the final rescues, the HSUS spokesperson added: “It will take them a little while to adjust, but these guys will be heading to shelters and rescues in Maine in the next few days. And then hopefully before we know it they’re going to be in a loving home with their new families and this all will be a distant memory.”
Beagles in animal experiments
Beagles are often used in animal experiments. An exposé last year found that US taxpayers had unknowingly paid $1.68 million to drug and “debark” puppies.
The US Department of Justice sued Envigo RMS LLC in May, alleging Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility. In June, it was announced that the facility would be closed.
Efforts were reportedly made to close the facility much earlier, however. Republican state senator for Virginia, Bill Stanley, said: “I tried to shut them down in 2019, but was not successful. But over the years, we never stopped fighting.”