September 23, 2022

Cárdenas, Envigo Beagles Show They CARE on Capitol Hill

The CARE Act gives laboratory animals a second chance at life in a loving home

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Beagles rescued from the Envigo breeding and research facility in Virginia visited Capitol Hill this week to help give even more laboratory survivors a second chance at life with loving families. The meet-and-greet at the Rayburn House Office Building was hosted by Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), sponsor of the Companion Animal Release from Experiments (CARE) Act, which would ensure that dogs, cats and rabbits, are put up for adoption when no longer needed for experiments in laboratories that receive taxpayer funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Also in attendance were Monica Engebretson, Cruelty Free International’s Head of Public Affairs North America, and Sue Bell, Executive Director of Virginia-based Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

Photos from the event can be found here. 

“It’s simple: if a federally funded research facility uses pets for research, then they must work to find them homes,” said Congressman Cárdenas.  “Today’s event was proof that animals experimented on can have a second chance at a life in a loving home. Every single beagle on Capitol Hill was there with their forever family. We can save even more lives and get more animals adopted by passing the Companion Animal Release from Experiments (CARE) Act. My bill requires research facilities funded by the NIH to develop adoption policies for those animals. This is part of a larger effort to move away from animal-based testing and research wherever possible and toward more humane and sound scientific research.” 

“The CARE Act has the potential to save hundreds of animals who are all unique individuals with personalities and a desire to live. Organizations across the U.S. are ready to help laboratory survivors find happy endings. Anyone who cares about animals should support the CARE Act,” said Monica Engebretson, Cruelty Free International’s North America Head of Public Affairs.

"Our rescue of these amazing beagles told us all what we already know — that dogs do not belong in massive breeding facilities or research labs where they are devoid of human love, the ability to sniff the fresh air and walk in grass. They belong in homes as family members. These dogs took to their families quickly and are now living the lives every dog deserves. The CARE Act is vital to giving animals in research what is so easy to give — families!" said Sue Bell, Executive Director of Homeward Trails.

More than 60,000 dogs are used in experiments in the United States every year – along with over 18,000 cats, and 140,000 rabbits – with many suffering and dying in cruel, unreliable tests.  

One of the most common uses of dogs in laboratories is as a “second species” in tests for human drugs. Following tests on rodents, drug companies are expected by regulators to also test on other species of animals. Dogs, in particular beagles, are the most used because they are trusting, eager to please and easy to handle. 

Dogs may be injected with or force fed a drug every day for at least two weeks and some for as long as nine months. They are observed for signs of adverse effects that can include vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding and organ damage, seizures, paralysis and even death.  

Even when dogs (and other animals) survive an experiment, they are often killed and discarded if they are considered no longer useful to the laboratory.?  

The CARE Act was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in October 2021.