May 23, 2022
To federal law enforcement, U.S. District Judge Norman Moon, lawmakers, and animal advocates for being a voice for the countless canine companions suffering extreme neglect at the Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia.
The USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) passed in 1966. The AWA’s passage was a critical step to creating laws to protect animals being transported, used in exhibitions, housed in commercial breeding facilities, and used for research purposes. Its passage also provided basic standards of care, although minimal, for research facilities to adhere to. Many amendments have followed to increase protections for animals as societal views have shifted to treat animals more humanely.
In 2021, Envigo, a dog breeding facility in Cumberland County, VA, was visited by USDA inspectors. The inspectors reported the disturbing finding that 300 puppy deaths had occurred between January-July 2021. The causes were simply stated as “unknown.” This particular breeding facility can house up to 5,000 dogs bred and sold to research facilities. Beagles are chosen for research because of their gentle nature. Sadly, they are subjected to painful procedures, often without pain medication, and euthanized when they are no longer needed.
As the extreme neglect the dogs faced came to light in the media, Virginia lawmakers introduced legislation to increase protections for the animals at these facilities that were lacking under the current AWA. In April 2022, Virginia’s Governor Youngkin signed several bills to keep these entities accountable and give dogs a chance to know kindness at the hands of humans by being able to be adopted upon the completion of testing.
Sadly, many dogs suffered and perished alone at Envigo. That is the fate of many animals used in research because of insufficient laws and the resources needed to conduct routine inspections of these commercial breeding/research facilities. According to several news articles, measures to better protect the many dogs at Envigo are underway by federal law enforcement and U.S. District Judge Norman Moon. 145 beagles in visible distress were removed from the facility, and U.S. District Judge Norman Moon is going a step further by issuing a temporary order prohibiting them from breeding until they comply by providing adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care for the nursing mothers and puppies.
Take Action: Please write or call U.S. District Judge Moon today and show your support for the actions taken to end the atrocities at Envigo.
The Honorable Norman K. Moon
United States District Judge
P.O. Box 657
Lynchburg, VA 24505