North Carolina animal testing facility surrenders animals after PETA's release of undercover video
A North Carolina lab has stopped doing research and is surrendering all of its animals a week after an undercover video showed what activists allege were workers cruelly treating dogs, cats and rabbits, federal regulators said Wednesday.
U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Dave Sacks said officials are trying to find new homes for more than 200 animals that were at Professional Laboratory and Research Services Inc. He said it was the company's decision to give them up and stop research. The USDA inspected the site this week and has started a formal investigation.
The developments come after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video of conditions at the lab. PETA contends that workers violently handled the animals and violated laws.
"I think it's imperative that all the animals go to good homes," said Kathy Guillermo, vice president of laboratory investigations at PETA. "They've suffered enough. This is a chance for them to know for the first time in their lives some joy and some peace."
The company's phone number at the lab in Corapeake, near the Virginia border, was disconnected Wednesday. Company president Helen Sonenshine did not immediately return a call seeking comment but previously said she was disgusted and appalled by the video.
One scene of the video, according to PETA's account, shows an employee purposely letting a cat grasp a fence with its claw before yanking it in an apparent attempt to rip off its nails.
Another clip shows workers trying to remove a tooth from a dog while acknowledging that the sedation drug expired years ago and may not be working. PETA contends that workers also sprayed the animals with harsh chemicals, lifted rabbits by their ears and puppies by their throats, and violently threw cats into their cages.
PETA referred videos, photos and a narrative to the local prosecutor, who said he is reviewing the matter.
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-- Mike Baker, Associated Press
Photos: Screen grabs from PETA's undercover video, which is available for viewing at PETA.org. (Warning: It contains graphic imagery.)