Beagles Force-Fed Fungicides Won't Be Euthanized, The Humane Society and Corteva Announce

After withstanding weeks of public pressure from an online campaign, Corteva Agriscience said it would be releasing three dozen beagles that had been force-fed fungicides as part of chemical-testing experiments.

More than 100,000 people signed an online petition urging Corteva, the agriculture division of DowDuPont, to release the dogs into the care of the Humane Society. According to the animal rights group, any of the 36 beagles who survived tests at the Charles River Laboratories would have been euthanized come July unless the chemical company consented to their release.

In a Friday statement, the Humane Society said it looked forward to "a new beginning" for the pups. The animal rights group said it had been negotiating with Corteva and DowDuPont to release the dogs for months but went public with its signature-driven campaign after the conversations stalled.

The hounds, who were being held at the Charles River laboratory in Mattawan, Michigan, will be evaluated and then put up for adoption, the group said.

"The beagles will be transported to our facilities within two weeks for evaluation, care and to explore placement options," the organization said. "We will announce a timeframe for when these beagles will be available for adoption and details regarding adoption applications via our social channels as soon as possible. Our focus right now is on working toward positive re-homing opportunities for each of the animals."

As part of the campaign to release the dogs, the Humane Society released a graphic video detailing past experiments at the Michigan lab facility and claimed the 36 beagles would face the same fate. The video shows some beagles locked in cages, wounded from surgery, while others appear to be force-fed an unknown liquid in a syringe.

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The Humane Society of the United States released a graphic video showing beagles undergoing testing at a Michigan lab facility. HSUS

The grisly footage was shared across social media channels, buoying the petition-drive on The Humane Society's website.

In response, Corteva said the company only tested products on animals when required by regulatory authorities. The company had argued that it was Brazil's Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) that mandated the experiments; On March 18, Corteva announced that it had ended the study after receiving authorization from ANVISA.

The company also pushed back against claims that it wasn't doing enough to stop the testing, and noted that it had already been working with The Humane Society and ANVISA to end such requirements for its products.

“We are pleased that our efforts produced this outcome," the company's statement read, "and we note that it is yet another result of the work our heritage companies have been doing for many years to continually refine, reduce and replace animal testing wherever possible..."

The company added that it was committed to finding "alternative means of obtaining the data necessary to assure our products are safe for humans, animals and the environment."

The vast majority of animal testing is conducted on rodents, although some 60,000 dogs are still tested on each year, according to The Humane Society. The top nine countries for animal testing are, in order, the USA, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the UK, Germany and Brazil, Cruelty-Free International stated in a fact sheet.

In a position statement, Americans For Medical Progress—an advocacy organization that supports "ethical, judicious and responsible" testing on animals—stated that some testing is critical to scientific advancement.

"Animal studies continue to play a crucial part in medical, veterinary and scientific research that benefits both animals and humans," the organization stated. "Americans for Medical Progress supports research involving animals when it is necessary to advance our understanding of biological processes."