Undercover video shows dogs used, sometimes killed in Michigan lab testing

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MATTAWAN, Mich. (WOOD) - Undercover recordings by the Humane Society of the United States show testing done on beagles at a facility in Mattawan, Michigan, that resulted in many of the dogs being killed.

While this practice is legal – and sometimes even required by the government – the Humane Society is bringing it to light, hoping that when people see it, they will push for this type of testing to end.

Warning: Some of the pictures and video could be disturbing.

Humane Society investigators say that over a 100-day span, some two dozen experiments were done on dogs at Charles River Laboratories in Matawan in Van Buren County.

Charles River recently acquired MPI Research in Mattawan in a reported $800 million cash deal. Charles River is a multinational corporation based in Willmington, Massachusetts, that employs about 15,000 people and last year generated $2.27 billion in revenue.

The company specialized in early-stage testing of devices, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.

The Humane Society says many dogs were killed at the end of studies, while others were kept alive for months, including 36 beagles tested for a Dow AgroSciences pesticide.

The Humane Society says Dow commissioned this laboratory to force-feed a fungicide to beagles for a year. The Humane Society claims the testing is not required by the government and that Dow has admitted that the testing done here is scientifically unnecessary.

In a statement to WOOD-TV, a spokesperson for Charles River said the company complies with all ethical treatments for animals following 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," the statement reads.

The Humane Society says that this one example of the type of animal experimentation done on more than 60,000 dogs nationwide.

According to the Washington-based laboratory advocacy group Americans for Medical Progress, animal testing is vital in developing lifesaving drugs and 95 percent is done on rodents, but sometime testing must be done on dogs.

"The science community must do more to help the public realize the critical role of animal studies in combatting serious diseases. We also need to demonstrate the tremendous efforts taken to ensure that lab animals are treated well."

Once again, we are left struggling with our conflicting attitudes toward animals, some of which are our best friends, and some whose lives we sacrifice to make our lives safer.