Undercover Investigation Alleges Animal Suffering at Toxicology Lab

An investigator spent 7 months in lab, documenting Animal Welfare Act concerns.

A closeup of a beagle in lab for testing peeking through a metal linked fence


It’s mostly impossible to watch. An undercover video reportedly made at a research lab in Indiana appears to show beagles howling in pain after being force-fed or injected with substances. There were monkeys restrained with their arms and legs splayed and mini pigs with inflamed patches on their shaved backs where products had been tested on them.

The footage is allegedly from an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). An investigator was said to have filmed the animal testing while spending seven months at Inotiv, a lab that conducts toxicology tests on animals for pharmaceutical companies.

Among the allegations in the investigation are that 80 beagle puppies are reportedly being forced to ingest toxic substances via a stomach tube daily. The puppies are to be euthanized in mid-May, HSUS alleges.

The video also shows monkeys with their bodies restrained as they were injected with or force-fed substances.

HSUS says the investigation found potential, significant violations of the Animal Welfare Act and the organization has reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate.

The Animal Welfare Act sets minimum requirements for the humane treatment of nonhuman animals in laboratories and other settings.

“Our investigator spent 163 days within that laboratory. Seeing that level of anguish day after day takes a toll on anyone and we are extremely lucky to have professional and compassionate investigators that are willing to put a spotlight on the pain that these animals endure their entire lives to tell their stories,” Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues for the HSUS, tells Treehugger.

“Our investigator did not perform any gavaging, which is when they put the tubes down the dogs’ throats. They spent most of their time trying to comfort the animals after they were experimented on without compromising the investigation.”

In a statement sent to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, a spokesperson from Inotiv called the testing “legally required” for developing lifesaving medicines and devices.

"On April 21, 2022, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) published a report claiming to have placed an infiltrator within one of Inotiv’s Indiana research facilities," said the statement. "Inotiv leadership has read HSUS’s press release and the corresponding report and is reviewing the claims contained therein."

According to the company’s website, Inotiv is a “leading contract research organization dedicated to providing nonclinical and analytical drug discovery and development services and research models and related products and services.”

The company’s statement continued: “Our mission at Inotiv is to help our clients realize the full potential of their scientific and medical research, which ultimately contributes to significant improvement in the lives of both humans and animals. The research we do is legally required in the U.S. for developing lifesaving medicines, medical devices and biologics."

Why Animal Testing?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), scientists “have to test those compounds that have shown at least some desired effects in living animals.”

However, in 2004, the FDA estimated that 92% of drugs that pass preclinical tests, including animal tests, didn’t make it to market.

The HSUS estimates that more than 50 million animals are used or bred in thousands of labs in the U.S. each year. At the end of most tests, they say, the animals are euthanized and necropsies are performed to analyze the effects of the medications tested.

Animal rights groups are advocating for the use of non-animal testing methods including organ-chip technologies, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing. They are specifically calling on this lab to look for testing alternatives and to stop testing on all animals in the lab while finding appropriate homes for them.

“It’s amazing to see how trusting and resilient these animals are. Regardless of how many times they have had a tube shoved down their throat without any pain medication, they still didn’t display any form of resentment or aggression. Even when they would be laying on the floor, unable to stand and howling in pain, they still would wag their tails, desperate for human comfort,” says Conlee.

“Which is exactly why we continue to advocate for state legislation mandating that these dogs, at the very least, get adopted after their time in laboratories. At the end of these torturous experiments, they get euthanized which is the norm for animal testing, but these dogs make excellent companions and have so much love to give.”

View Article Sources
  1. "Undercover investigation reveals animal suffering in toxicology laboratory." Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund, April 2022.

  2. Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues for the HSUS

  3. United States Code, 2006 Edition, Supplement 5, Title 7 - AGRICULTURE

  4. Watson, Deanna, "Inotiv responds to Humane Society's undercover investigation of animal testing company." Journal & Courier, 21 Apr. 2022.

  5. "Inotiv Welcomes Fernanda Beraldi as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary." Inotiv Corporate News, 11 Apr. 2022.

  6. "The Beginnings: Laboratory & Animal Studies." U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  7. Akhtar, Aysha, "The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation." Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, vol. 24, no. 4, Oct. 2015. doi:10.1017/S0963180115000079