CUMBERLAND, Va. (WRIC) — A video going viral that shows hundreds of beagles to be used in research, warehoused at a breeding facility in Virginia is raising concerns.
“The first thing you notice is the endless crying and wailing and barking. Terribly, terribly sad,” Stuart Chaifetz said.
Chaifetz was one of several SHARK Team investigators that recorded the Covance Research Products facility in Cumberland.
The drone video was captured over a two-day period on June 29 until June 30.
“These cages were filthy there were feces and urine and all over it. We actually filmed one dog eating, you know, some of it,” Chaifetz said.
What they saw, they call cruel. The video highlights aggressive dogs.
“When you saw this almost ‘Lord of the Flies’ situation where you had so many dogs packed together, these conditions were truly barbaric,” Chaifetz said.
At the time the video was taken, Covance was owned by LabCorp. In July, Covance was acquired by Envigo an animal testing and breeding company.
In a statement, LabCorp told WFXR’s sister station WRIC:
Covance takes very seriously our ethical and regulatory responsibilities to treat research animals with the greatest care and respect. The Cumberland site, which was recently sold to a new owner, has a strong track record of compliance and accreditation for animal welfare. Federal law and regulatory agencies worldwide require that animal research be conducted to make sure new medicines are safe and effective for patient use. Through this type of research, Covance has made significant contributions to the development of life-saving and life-enhancing new medicines. The drone video shared provides an incomplete picture of the habitat provided in that it only shows the outdoor portion of the runs. The animals have open access to runs and inside kennels, providing ample and comfortable space, bedding, enrichment toys, and water for the number of animals in each area.”VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS OF LABCORP SUE MAYNARD
“This is just the beginning of a terrible fate for these dogs,” Chaifetz said.
SHARK takes issue with using dogs in research. WRIC reviewed records from the United States Department of Agriculture that show the Cumberland facility passed its last inspection in 2017.
However, WRIC found other Covance facilities have had a troubled past.
WRIC reached out to Envigo for a comment. The company did not return calls or emails for comment.
The USDA told WRIC they are aware of the drone video but they said they can’t confirm or deny there is an investigation.