Today we received more encouraging news in our fight to stop the abominable trade by Class B random source dealers, who round up dogs and cats from flea markets, shelters, auctions, and even the backyards of unsuspecting owners and funnel them to research institutions to be tested on. The largest of the remaining three Class B random source dealers has cancelled his U.S. Department of Agriculture license. These merchants of cruelty are on their last gasps, and this announcement gets us one big step closer to the complete demise of this sordid trade.
The dealer, Ohio-based Robert Perry, has been supplying dogs to a number of institutions, including Ohio State University (OSU), for years. In the one-year period between October 2013 and October 2014 alone, OSU purchased nearly 50 dogs from Perry, making him the biggest random source supplier of dogs used in research nationwide. Of the two remaining Class B dealers, one had only four dogs in its most recent inventory and the other is facing formal enforcement action from the USDA.
The theft of dogs and their use in experiments led to the passage of the Animal Welfare Act nearly 50 years ago, and it’s a disreputable trade The HSUS has worked to put an end to ever since, along with other organizations like Last Chance for Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, and Animal Welfare Institute. At one time there were more than 200 licensed random source Class B dealers in the United States. In 2013, when we released results of our investigation into laboratory experiments on animals at Georgia Regents University – which relied on an unscrupulous random source dealer for its dogs — there were still six remaining dealers operating in the United States.
And now, after today’s announcement, we are down to two. And the remaining two operators are flailing.
The shift away from dog dealers has helped to spur a general decline in the use of dogs in laboratories. In October last year, I shared the news that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would no longer fund research that utilized random source dogs (the NIH implemented a similar policy for cats in 2012). The NIH decision stemmed from a report issued by the National Academy of Sciences that found these random source dealers could not guarantee that people’s pets would not end up in laboratories, and that the dogs they procured were not necessary nor fit for federally funded scientific research.
Our researchers reviewed the records of 10 laboratories that purchased substantial numbers of dogs from random source Class B dealers in the past and we found that all of the labs are now using fewer dogs in their experiments. This means that these facilities are not replacing randomly sourced dogs with those bred specifically for research purposes.
The continuing and rapid decline of these random source Class B dealers means the chances of pets ending up in laboratories are now very low. And we’re perhaps closer to the day when fewer dogs of any kind are used in testing and research. With the locking down of this problem, along with the end of puppy mills and dogfighting, the demise of greyhound racing, and an end to euthanasia of healthy animals in shelters, we will have ushered in a new era and a better day for all dogs in our society.