Closure of Envigo’s beagle factory in Cumberland; lawmakers call for adoption of remaining dogs | Government and politics

The parent company of Envigo’s Virginia beagle factory, which a judge has blasted for its ‘tortious abuse’ of dogs and puppies, plans to close the Cumberland facility, but the date is unclear .

At a federal court hearing on Monday in Lynchburg, prosecutors sought a preliminary injunction in an effort to protect the 3,000 beagles still at the facility from what US officials said continued abuse.

Envigo representatives reportedly said the company was willing to close the facility, but argued that its owners had the right to sell the remaining dogs to customers conducting research. Federal prosecutors said they wanted the dogs up for adoption.

Judge Norman Moon urged federal prosecutors and Envigo to continue their efforts to reach a settlement.

Separately, Envigo’s Indiana-based parent company, Inotiv, announced plans to close the Cumberland beagle plant and a rodent production site in Pulaski County as part of a business consolidation.

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“Since acquiring Envigo in November 2021, the Cumberland, Virginia facility has been recognized as in need of improvements and investment,” said Robert Leasure, Jr., President and CEO. of Inotiv in a press release.

He said that “the investment required to improve the facility and the time to achieve these improvements have recently increased. As a result, we have decided to no longer invest in this facility and it will be closed. »

In April, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed five “Beagle Bills” — inspired by Cumberland abuse — intended to protect dogs and cats bred for experiments.

Three Virginia lawmakers who sponsored the “beagle bills” urged Envigo on Tuesday to put the remaining dogs up for adoption.

“Today we call on Envigo and its parent company, Inotiv, to release the remaining 3,000 beagle dogs and puppies at the facility for adoption only and to desist from any efforts or plans to sell these survivors for experiments,” Sens’s joint statement said. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County and Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax and Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle.

“Virginians are deeply invested in the plight of these long-suffering dogs. We urge Envigo to step in, do the right thing, and let these dogs have what all dogs deserve: a loving home.

Last month, the judge, finding ‘extraordinary relief is warranted’, issued a temporary restraining order against Envigo’s Cumberland breeding facility in a bid to end his ‘tortuous’ mistreatment “towards beagle dogs and puppies. Envigo has already released 446 beagles that authorities seized last month after finding them in “acute distress”.

In a memorandum supporting the government’s new push for a preliminary injunction, Christopher Kavanaugh, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, wrote that a June 8 “compliance review” found Envigo continues to commit “serious violations and continuous” animal welfare. Act on the Cumberland site.

Reported violations included overcrowded and unsafe enclosures, “insufficient access to safe, uncontaminated food and sufficient water,” unsanitary conditions, fighting between beagles, incompatible dogs housed together, and veterinary care. inadequate.

A federal inspector who returned to the Cumberland site on June 8 reported that despite the judge’s previous order requiring “healthy, wholesome and tasty food,” she found containers with “flying insects” in the food.

“Envigo continues to repeatedly and systematically violate ‘animal welfare law’ by ‘failing to provide the beagles at the Cumberland facility with the care they are legally entitled to,'” Kavanaugh wrote.

Last year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals conducted an undercover investigation at the facility. PETA released a disturbing video of beagles being housed in what it called a “prison-like factory”.

Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president of cruelty investigations, said in a statement this week, “It’s time for the 3,000 surviving victims of Envigo to finally enjoy a loving home. The company has deprived these animals of minimal basic care, but wants to profit from them without complying with federal law, rather than do the right thing by letting them be adopted instead of tortured and killed in useless experiments.

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