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Animal Abuse for Science? Euthanized Beagles Cause Public Uproar But University Defends Study

Sep 07, 2016 06:02 AM EDT

A university defends their research practices after an uproar from a national pet-adoption group regarding an experiment that resulted to euthanizing six female beagles.

According to Fox News, The University of Missourisupported the research published in Journal of Veterinary Opthamology last April a study conducted on a number of one-year-old beagles.

Beagle Freedom Project, a California-based group, discovered the dogs' death when they chanced upon the published study about treatment for damaged corneas. Even though the study gives a lot of useful information, the procedure to get the outcome comes with a price.

According to the published study, the one-year-old beagles' left eyes were purposefully damaged while they were under anesthesia. They were given topical acid treatment to check if this treatment will work. Half of the dogs made it, while those that didn't respond to the treatment were euthanized.

Kevin Chase, vice president of BFP, called the experiment a "colossal failure" and "cruel." He also noted that there are thousands of tiny nerve endings that filled up the cornea's top layer.

"Caging dogs in a laboratory, intentionally damaging their corneas, and then killing them is about as ethical as picking people off the street and hitting them over the head with a pipe in order to test new concussion treatments," Chase said.

Meanwhile, the university issued a statement, saying that their scientists give the research dogs utmost care and respect while doing the procedure. The dogs were anesthised and were given pain medications if there are any signs of concern.

According to their statement, their researchers also treated the animals "humanely" and give "every effort" to make sure that the animals were comfortable during the process. However, the statement didn't mention if their research animals are usually euthanized.

The study aimed to develop painless or non-invasive treatments for corneal injuries to make the quality of life better for both humans and animals. An article published in Washington Post stated that according to animal rights groups, each year, there are 70,000 dogs that are used by almost 400 U.S. research labs. Mostly of these dogs are beagles because they can be easy to handle.

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