This article includes graphic images that some readers may find disturbing.
There is a largely hidden, poorly regulated, and highly profitable industry in the United States that has a gruesome function: breeding dogs for the sole purpose of often torturous experimentation, after which the dogs are killed because they are no longer of use.
Americans frequently express horror at festivals in countries such as China and South Korea where dogs are killed, cooked, and eaten. Mainstream media outlets in the U.S. routinely report, with a tone of disgust, on the use of dogs in those countries for food consumption.
But in the U.S. itself, corporations and academic institutions exploit dogs (as well as cats and rabbits) for excruciating experiments that are completely trivial, even useless, and are just as abusive as the practices in Asia that have produced so much moral indignation in the West. These dogs are frequently bred into life for the sole purpose of being laboratory objects, and spend their entire, often short, existence locked in a small cage, subjected to procedures that impose extreme pain and suffering.
The horrors of the dog experimentation industry are on vivid display at Ridglan Farms Inc., a company that provides beagles to research facilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s aptly named the Animal Usage report, 60,979 dogs were used in the U.S. for experimentation in 2016 alone. The reported number of all animals used for experimentation, whose reporting was required, was 820,812. Often, the experimentation has nothing to do with medical research, but rather trivial commercial interests, and in almost all cases, dogs provide little to no unique scientific value. This chart, compiled by Speaking of Research using USDA data, reflects the total numbers of animals used for experimentation in 2016 — an increase of 6.9 percent as compared to the prior year:
Dogs bred into life for use or sale as experimentation objects have all the same emotional complexities, sensations of suffering and deprivation, and inbred need for human companionship as household dogs which are loved as pets and members of the family. Yet the legalized cruelty and torture to which man’s best friend is subjected for profit in the U.S. is virtually limitless.
In fact, the majority of dogs bred and sold for experimentation are beagles, which are considered ideal because of their docile, human-trusting personality. In other words, the very traits that have made them such loving and loyal companions to humans are the ones that humans exploit to best manipulate them in labs. …..
… The work of animal rights activists is forcing us to confront what we would rather avert our gaze away from — systematic abuse, torture, and unspeakable cruelty. It is increasingly difficult to ignore the ethical questions all of this presents. As Fahey put it, “Ultimately, we will not be able to ignore it.” ….
Top photo: A “research dog” in its cage at Ridglan Farms Inc.