PETA claims abuse at animal testing lab

Published 10:47 am Friday, September 10, 2010

CORAPEAKE – Claims of animal abuse have been leveled at a testing laboratory here.

In a press release issued Wednesday, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) officials said they have filed formal complaints with federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and submitted evidence to the local prosecutor’s office.

This comes in the wake of an undercover investigation conducted by PETA at Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. (PLRS). According to the press release, the Corapeake-based laboratory tests flea and tick preventatives and other animal-companion products for Sergeant’s, Bayer, Eli Lilly, Merck, Schering-Plough, Pfizer, Novartis, and Merial, the makers of Frontline.

PETA claimed their investigation revealed that the animals used in the pet product tests were physically abused, neglected and tormented. Their press release included a digital link to an online video shot at the lab by a PETA investigator working undercover at the lab. That person was hired as an animal caretaker at the lab in December of last year.

The video, viewed by this newspaper, showed lab employees handling the animals in an aggressive manner, including instances of lifting rabbits and puppies by their ears and throats and, in one scene, throwing a cat into its cage.

In another scene, lab workers are heard talking about the possible lack of potency of a sedation drug used on a dog whose teeth were being pulled. The workers are heard saying that the medication was two years past its expiration date.

PETA’s press release claimed that lab staffers left dogs in enclosures that were being pressure-hosed, leaving the animals soaked with a mixture of water and harsh chemicals, such as bleach.

PETA’s investigator also claimed to have witnessed the following:

Clementine—a Dalmatian whose limbs were covered in raw, oozing wet sores—was denied veterinary care for months. The lab purchased her in 2003 from a notorious animal dealer that was later shut down by federal agents.

A test chemical for a company whose flea-control products are on shelves nationwide was applied to the necks of 57 cats. Despite severe adverse reactions, including seizures and bleeding from the nose and mouth, the cats were exposed to the chemical for a second time that very same day.

Although a non-animal test method has been available for at least 14 years, as many as 2,000 ticks were spread onto the shaved backs of rabbits in order to “grow” the ticks. Rabbits were also used as crude “feeding” colonies for thousands of mosquitoes; the rabbits were forcibly held down while the insects bit them and sucked their blood.

In order to save money on costs, PLRS killed nearly 100 dogs, cats, and rabbits over a two-week span.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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