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UK taxpayer-funded research body awards contract to company at heart of beagle controversy

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Envigo rescued beagle

We ask Business Secretary for an explanation

A government-sponsored research body funded by UK taxpayers recently awarded a five-year contract to laboratory animal supplier Envigo RMS, whose parent company was found guilty of serious animal welfare violations in the United States earlier this year.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – gave the £690,077 contract to Envigo RMS to provide “nutritional diet supplies” for animals. This is in spite of Inotiv, which owns Envigo RMS, being forced to close its dog breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia, after federal authorities documented nearly 75 animal welfare violations in just 10 months. A search warrant led to the seizure of 446 beagles found to be in acute distress. Authorities then filed a lawsuit against the facility and eventually reached an agreement that led to the voluntary closure of the facility and the release of the remaining 4,000 dogs for adoption. Criminal charges are under consideration. 

An undercover investigation of the facility found more than 360 puppies dead, many among their live littermates and mothers; puppies given a lethal injection to the heart while fully conscious; mouldy, rotting and maggot-infested food; and workers with no veterinary credentials crudely performing surgical and medical procedures without anaesthesia or pain relief. 

Cruelty Free International has joined forces with other animal protection organisations asking for an explanation from Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as to why public money has been allowed to go to Envigo RMS, whether animal welfare due diligence was carried out prior to awarding the contract and to urge the UK Government to not do further business with Envigo RMS or Inotiv. 

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