Indianapolis-based Envigo announced the closure of its purpose-bred canine facility in Cumberland, Virginia through a June 13 statement from the president of its parent company Inotiv Inc.
"Since the Envigo acquisition in November 2021, the Cumberland facility was recognized as needing improvements and investments. [However], the required investments to improve the facility and the lead time to achieve these improvements have recently increased. As a result, we have decided we will not be investing further in this facility and it will be closed," Inotiv President and CEO Robert Leasure Jr. said.
He reiterated that Inotiv will "implement an orderly closure plan" for the Cumberland facility. Aside from this, Leasure remarked that a purpose-bred rodent facility in Dublin, Virginia would also be closed as part of the company's ongoing restructuring and site optimization plan. "Operations at the Dublin site will be relocated to other facilities which have recently been expanded or refurbished," Leasure said in his statement.
The decision to shut down the Cumberland site followed inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documenting more than 70 Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations there since July 2021. As a result, the state of Virginia enacted a law in April 2022 preventing Inotiv from selling more beagles if it committed a single additional serious violation after July 1, 2023.
A month later, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Inotiv for violating the AWA and seized 446 animals deemed by company veterinarians to be "in acute distress." This served as another blow to the beleaguered company.
Court hearings saw lawyers for the DOJ and Inotiv arguing about how to dispose of the remaining beagles in the Cumberland site. Inotiv wants to sell the beagles to research clients, while the DOJ demands that the company give away the dogs upon full compliance with the AWA.
U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon ultimately permitted Envigo to fulfill existing research orders for more than 500 of the almost 3,200 beagles. However, he ruled that the company is not allowed to sell the remaining animals.
According to Animal Welfare Institute researcher Eric Kleiman, closing the Cumberland facility is insufficient. He remarked: "What of the over 40,000 animals at [Inotiv's] other sites? Given its shocking animal welfare record, we believe Inotiv's license should be permanently revoked."
Amy Katherine Taylor, an animal crime investigator with the office of Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, attested to this "shocking record" in an affidavit. She noted that during her June 8 inspection, enclosures at the Cumberland site had 10 dogs inside them. She also found empty or missing water bowls, food infested with insects and dogs standing in their own waste.
Incidentally, the Cumberland site's closure occurred amid a concurrent scandal also involving Inotiv. An undercover investigator released footage taken at the company's Mount Vernon, Indiana facility where beagles, monkeys, rats and pigs were subjected to drug toxicity studies. (Related: Undercover footage reveals Indiana lab conducting ANIMAL TESTING on monkeys, beagles.)
The investigator working on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) shared several accounts of cruel animal testing that was going on at the Mount Vernon laboratory.
Laboratory staff members restrained beagles, secured monkeys in restraint chairs and squeezed rats into plastic tubes before feeding tubes were forced down their throats. Chemicals were then pumped into their stomachs. Likewise, pigs were not spared as chemicals were applied directly to their backs, leaving them with bloody skin.
According to the investigator, the animals are euthanized at the end of the tests and then autopsied to examine how the chemicals damage their organs.
"The disturbing findings at this facility cannot be ignored," said HSUS President and CEO Kitty Block. "We are calling for the release of beagles we know are suffering in the lab today and soon to be euthanized, but that is just the start of our work."
Watch the video below that talks about animal testing.
This video is from the KC-Sunbeam channel on Brighteon.com.