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Beagle breeding company fined €32 million in biggest ever penalty for animal welfare violations


A company has been fined €32 million for neglecting thousands of dogs, including providing insufficient and contaminated food and water, and euthanizing them without anesthesia.

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A company that breeds beagles for medical research agreed to pay a record $35 million (32 million euros) in a landmark animal welfare case on Monday in Virginia.

Envigo RMS, the company that runs the facility, and its parent company Inotiv, admitted to neglecting thousands of dogs at their breeding site.

The company was accused of retaining dog The cages are cleaned only twice a month, which is much less than the daily cleaning required. The dogs were euthanized without anesthesia, and several were injured on metal floors. the food The water provided was not enough and was dirty.

US Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, who prosecuted the case, said Invygo retained a vet who performed poor surgeries and allowed numerous violations because executives thought it would be too difficult to find a replacement.

Todd Kim, of the Justice Department, said Invygo “unlawfully enriched itself by failing to spend the necessary funds for upgrades and by failing to hire a sufficient number of trained and competent employees.”

After the hearing, Inotive issued a statement in response to the accusations.

“By committing the crimes specified in the charging document, and by not making the necessary improvements to the infrastructure and hiring the necessary personnel, we have failed to meet our standards for animal welfare and the environment and we apologize to the public for the harm caused by our conduct,” the company said.

“By resolving this matter, we renew our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of animal care.”

The plea deal also prohibits Envigo RMS and Inotiv from breeding or selling the dogs in the future.

How did the investigation develop?

The federal investigation into Invigo came to national attention in May 2022 when federal authorities conducted a search of the breeding facility in Cumberland County, Virginia, and found nearly 450 animals in acute distress.

The company later agreed to give up all 4,000 beagles at the facility, which were sent nationwide for adoption.

Kavanaugh said the company generated $16 million (€14 million) in revenue between 2019 and May 2022, when the research occurred, by selling 15,000 beagles during that period.

Court records show 300 puppies died over a seven-month period around 2021 from what were described as “unknown causes.”

Environmental damage

In addition to the animal abuse charges, the plea deal acknowledges that Envigo violated the Clean Water Act by releasing improperly treated animals. Wastewater.

Envigo must pay $3.5 million (€3.22 million) for it Environmental reforms And cover the cost of monitoring to make sure they follow the rules during the probationary period, which can last three to five years.

The Cumberland facility, which employed approximately 40 people, was closed. Cavanaugh said the organization is severely understaffed to care for thousands of dogs.

Prosecutors also said their investigations are continuing and that criminal cases against individual employees remain possible.

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