Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel advocates for animals at Ann Arbor shelter

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel at the Humane Society of Huron Valley with one of 4,000 beagles rescued from a Virginian research facility. (Humane Society Of Huron Valley)

ANN ARBOR – Beagles rescued from a research breeding facility were visited by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) on Tuesday.

Nessel, who has advocated for the protection of animals used in research, was joined by Senator Dayna Polehanki (D) and State Representative Matt Koleszar (D).

“We appreciate that the Attorney General, Senator Polehanki and Representative Koleszar weren’t just here for show; they’re working to ensure animals in Michigan don’t see the cruelty these beagles did,” said HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf in a release. “Thousands of animals like these—dogs, cats, kittens, monkeys—are used in painful and unnecessary testing every day, for products like cosmetics, cleaning products and pesticides. Most people are against cruel testing and support using the humane alternatives that now exist.”

The beagles at HSHV came from a group of 4,000 dogs that were pulled from an Envigo research facility in Cumberland, Virginia after the company was cited for violating several animal wellness regulations.

Research on animals is still legal in Michigan, and beagles are often used due to their kind nature, said HSHV officials.

“It’s such a betrayal of loyal companions,” Hilgendorf added. “They suffer in the breeding facilities and then are sold to labs where they live short, miserable lives.”

Nessel issued an opinion in May calling for increased oversight of organizations and companies that “keep or use animals for experimental purposes.” The opinion calls on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to establish “standards” of humane conduct and to only register entities that meet the “standards.”

While federal law protects animals in laboratories, it doesn’t protect animals when they are no longer needed by facilities, HSHV officials said.

The Ann Arbor organization advocates for Teddy’s Law, a legal policy that would require dogs and cats used in research settings to be put up for adoption after experiments instead of being euthanized. The bipartisan legislation is currently in Michigan’s Regulator Reform Committee.

Learn more about the Humane Society of Huron Valley’s advocacy positions here.


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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.