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Wisconsin Locals Fight Inhumane Dog Abuse at Research Breeding Facility

An animal cruelty report from Direct Action Everywhere exposed systemic dog abuse at a breeding facility that supplies dogs for animal testing.

An investigation by animal rights activists exposed severe instances of animal cruelty at both laboratory research centers and breeding facilities that supply dogs to the research centers. Now locals in Wisconsin are taking a stance to do something about it and will vote this November on a referendum that could mean the end of dog abuse at one local facility.

A report from Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) detailed severe and routine dog abuse at Ridglan Farms in Wisconsin.

Ridglan Farms Supplies Thousands of Dogs For Animal Testing

Ridglan Farms breeds thousands of beagles for research purposes, but DxEd discovered the dogs are housed in filthy and inhumane conditions and subject to immense pain and psychological torture. This is contrary to what the public has been made to believe about the facility.

Ridglan Farms is one of the top three dog breeders in the U.S. providing thousands of beagles to research facilities and universities such as the University of Wisconsin, the University of North Carolina and the Oklahoma State University among others.

The facility which is located in Dane County, Wisconsin, has been recognized by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) and received the highest possible welfare rating. On its website, Ridglan says it provides the “highest quality beagles for biomedical research” and that it has “adhered to the strictest standards of quality in breeding, socialization, health care and colony management.”

But this has been contradicted by DxE, an animal rights group, which found evidence of present-day animal torture and reports of dog abuse at Ridglan Farms dating as far back as 40 years ago.

Modern Day Dog Abuse at Ridglan

According to the investigation, the thousands of dogs at Ridglan displayed psychological torment with some having developed compulsive disorders such as turning round and round in circles.

Upon entering the Ridglan barns, DxE investigators reported they were met by a strong obnoxious stench accompanied by wailing, howling and barking of dogs in cages stacked two high. The cages were made of plastic coated wire, and the dogs lived in them for their entire lives. Some of the dogs had red and swollen feet as a result of standing on the wires. Dogs were also not allowed to leave cages, forcing them to relieve themselves within cages making feces build up or drop through the wires to the animals below. This caused a filthy and obnoxious stench to fill the barns.

“The first thing that struck me immediately was how it smelled exactly like dog meat markets in China,” said Wayne Hsiung, DxE co-founder and lead investigator. “It was filthy, there were feces everywhere,” he added.

The report also documented abuse at laboratory centers where Ridglan dogs are sold to. Some of the abuse reported included forcing dogs to ingest commercial laundry detergent to the point where dogs vomit and die, exposing them to increasing amounts of pesticides and drugs, and cutting a dog’s joints to observe it for weeks before finally dying.

The dogs at Ridglan had no toys, soft-beds, access to sunlight or even human companionship.

Saving Julie From Dog Abuse

Julie, a dog that was rescued by investigators from a Ridglan barn, continued to show compulsive behavior 11 months after her rescue. She had never seen grass her whole life and therefore didn’t know what to do the first time she stepped on it. Her favorite spots in the house are dark and tight spaces such as corners which shows the extent to which she psychologically suffered.


Julie loves staying alone in dark places. Source; DxE

This is not the first time Ridglan has been implicated with animal cruelty. In 2006, inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted an investigation of Ridglan after complaints of overcrowding, unsanitary cages and a smell of burning animals were lodged. The USDA did not take any action on Ridglan, but the inspectors did note that they found “dirty and potentially dangerous housing conditions at Ridglan.”

Residents Fight Back, Will Vote on Animal Testing Laws

Following concerns from the DxE report, residents of Mt Horeb, a village where Ridglan Farms is located have been collecting signatures in support of an ordinance that would restrict transportation of animals intended for experimentation.

Having collected more than 650 signatures, the residents will now have a vote in November which if passed, will directly affect Ridglan’s operations as it would now be illegal to own and transport animals for the purpose of testing.

One resident wrote into a local paper in July urging her fellow constituents to sign a petition to support Julie’s Law and end animal experimentation in Dane County.

“With increasingly advanced technologies, many scientists report the necessity of animal testing is outdated and unnecessary. The ‘production’ of dogs in our backyard perpetuates an obsolete model of testing is cruel, and is also a public health concern,” the author wrote.

Advancements in artificial intelligence in recent years are making animal testing more obsolete and unnecessary.

A new study published in the scientific journal Toxicological Sciences stated that computers will be able to accurately and reliably predict the toxicity of tens of thousands of unknown chemicals based on previous animal tests.


Alex Muiruri

Alex is a passionate writer born and raised in Kenya. He is professionally trained as a public health officer but loves writing more. When not writing, he enjoys reading, doing charity work and spending time with friends and family. He is also a crazy pianist!

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  1. Melissa Cramer Moran September 17, 2018

    Research breeders are tightly regulated by the USDA. If there were any abuse going on, they’d be shut down.

    1. Michelle September 18, 2018

      Farms are also regulated by the USDA. Abuse NEVER occurs on farms, right? Also, just because it’s “legal,” doesn’t mean its ethical.

  2. Michael November 1, 2018

    This facility actually EXCEEDS any/all requirements and has an exemplary record in regards to the safety of these animals. Additionally, every owner of this facility is or was a licensed veterinarian that dedicated their lives to helping and protecting animals, and this has been so since its inception.

    This story is completely biased, and does not even begin to bring light to the physical and social attacks the employees have endured by domestic terrorist groups like Dane4Dogs. Every employee has dedicated their livelihood to ensuring these animals are well cared for and NOT abused. They are treated with more respect and are in better health than many dogs owned as pets!

    Open your eyes to the ramifications of this referendum if it passes. Your children and your children’s children will bear the brunt of your shortsightedness because of the medical advances that will NOT be made if this referendum passes. The millions that will get sick or die due to the lack of medical advancements these animals facilitate.

    Vote intelligently by doing your own research from REPUTABLE sources… and not those trumped up by terroristic organizations using scare tactics.

    1. A. May 2, 2019

      Oh shut up with your pity party, you animal abuser. Oh the poor workers who breed and traffic animals to a hellish life in a lab are subject to abuse? Aw, that’s heartbreaking. Maybe you can switch spots with the beagle and see who is really been abused.

  3. A May 2, 2019

    If millions of humans get sick and die, that’s their problem. It’s not the burden of animals to cure our diseases. Not to mention most drugs that pass animal trials don’t end up working for humans. Scientists need to stop using old ‘technology’ like animals and find better ways.


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