Several companies are responding to a report that alleges dogs are suffering and dying in experiments carried out in a Michigan laboratory.
The Humane Society of the United States said it carried out an undercover investigation at the Charles River Laboratories in Mattawan, Michigan.
Pictures and videos released Tuesday, March 12 are said to show experiments being conducted on dogs for three companies: Dow AgroSciences, Above and Beyond NB LLC, and Paredox Therapeutics.
The Humane Society claimed that over the course of nearly 100 days, nearly two dozen experiments were conducted on dogs, and some were killed at the end of the studies. Others suffered for months, including 36 beagles tested for a Dow AgroSciences pesticide. The report claims the dogs that survive will be killed at the study’s end date in July.
"We made every effort to help Dow end this test and get the assurance they needed and they have chosen profits over ethics here," said Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues for the Humane Society of the United States.
The president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Kitty Block, said:
“The disturbing findings at this facility are sadly not unique. Experiments are happening at hundreds of laboratories each year throughout the country, with more than 60,000 dogs suffering. But that does not have to be the fate for these 36 beagles. For months we have been urging Dow to end the unnecessary test and release the dogs to us. We have gone to considerable lengths to assist the company in doing so, but we simply cannot wait any longer; every single day these caged dogs are being poisoned and are one day closer to being killed. We must turn to the public to join us in urging Dow to stop the test immediately and to work with us to get these dogs into suitable homes.”
Dow AgroSciences was the agricultural division of the Dow Chemical Company at the time of its merger with DuPont, becoming DowDuPont.
Dow, headquartered in Midland, Michigan, released a statement on its Facebook page hours after the report came out.
The company said animal testing is required by certain regulatory authorities, including those in Brazil, but it has been working with the Humane Society to amend the rules.
The statement is as follows:
Dow has a strong commitment to ensuring the safety of our products, and the care and well-being of animals. Specifically, Corteva Agriscience™, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, which includes Dow’s former fungicide business, has been working closely with the Humane Society of the U.S. for many months to encourage Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) to amend its animal test requirements for pesticides. Once Corteva is given certainty that the study is no longer required, they will stop the study immediately.
Animal testing is not something Dow undertakes lightly, but neither is it something the Company can discontinue when it is required by regulatory authorities. Dow keeps its use of animal testing to an absolute minimum. Dow is committed to finding alternatives to animal testing and has established a Predictive Toxicology team dedicated to this goal. Dow scientists actively advocate for alternative methods by engaging global regulatory agencies, and collaborates with governments, animal welfare organizations and researchers. All this is evidence of our commitment to the 3R’s — reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals in toxicology testing.
Dow issued the following statement later on Wednesday, March 13:
“A report by the Humane Society of the U.S. that was issued on March 12, 2019 inaccurately attributes an animal testing program to Dow. Corteva Agriscience™ initiated the study, and has independently operated as the Agriculture division of DowDuPont for the past two years as part of the pending separations. As a result, this matter is managed by Corteva Agriscience™. We understand that Corteva and the Humane Society are advocating for Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) to waive the 1-year animal testing requirements in question. Please direct all questions to Corteva.”
Corteva issued a similar statement on Twitter.
The statement is as follows:
At Corteva Agriscience, we care deeply about the welfare of animals. Consistent with industry practice, we conduct animal testing only when such testing is required by regulatory authorities, and we proactively engage with government officials to minimize or cease animal studies, where possible.
We agree that there are better ways to attain the data needed for this study and have been working closely with the Humane Society of the U.S. for many months to encourage Brazil’s Agencia Nacional de Vigilancia Sanitaria (ANVISA) to amend its animal test requirements for pesticides. While we have received an encouraging letter from ANVISA, that letter is not definitive. Once the industry receives confirmation that this test is no longer required, we will cease testing immediately and make every effort to rehome the animals.
Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, is committed to animal welfare and the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) as core principles of toxicological research.
In the interim, we continue to ensure that where regulations require the use of animals, all applicable welfare guidelines, laws, regulations and licensing requirements are met.
Charles River Laboratories also responded to the report in an email to TV5. According to Amy Cianciaruso, Corporate Vice President of Public Relations and Corporate Communications:
“Charles River Laboratories operates our facilities in a way that is consistent with our commitment to the welfare and ethical treatment of the animals in our care and in compliance with all federal regulations and international standards.
As animal caregivers and scientific researchers, we are responsible to our clients and the public for the health and well-being of the animals under our stewardship, and we strive to fulfill that responsibility on a daily basis.”
According to its website, Charles River Laboratories “has a staff of over 150 veterinarians and over 1000 animal care professionals dedicated to the care and well-being of animals at its facilities.”
Conlee claims the Humane Society of the United States was able to work out a deal with Brazil that fell on deaf ears.
"We worked with Dow, reached out to Brazil and said, 'can we not do this test and still get the product approved?' They said, 'you do not need to do the dog test. You can get a waiver.' Dow decided not to go that route and they are continuing to do this test anyway," Conlee said.
The Humane Society of the United States launched an online petition that has garnered thousands of signatures all in an effort to stop the dog testing and save the 36 beagles. Click here to see that.
Conlee said every day is critical for the dogs as another daily dose of fungicide is forced into their system.
Conlee hopes Dow will work with the Humane Society of the United States to end this testing and save these animals before it's too late.
"We're demanding that they end this test and release those 36 dogs," Conlee said.