Bred to Suffer: Glenn Greenwald on the “Morally Unconscionable” U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation

AMY GOODMAN: If you can talk, Glenn Greenwald,
about the investigation you did, Bred to Suffer: Inside the Barbaric U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation. GLENN GREENWALD: A lot of people, Amy, including
people who follow animal rights issues somewhat closely, don’t even realize that it is legal
in the United States to conduct scientific experimentation on dogs. But not only is it legal; it is pervasive. In 2016, just in terms of what was reported—and
the numbers are definitely far greater—60,000 dogs were subjected to all kinds of experimentations. Not just medical experimentations where pathogens
are injected into their brains by drilling holes in their head, but where they are force-fed
commercial products like laundry detergent right into the stomach using oral garage,
the same same technique used to make fois gras, in which just placed into their stomach
are commercial products that cause them to vomit and go into seizures and comas, just
for pure commercial testing. And even researchers say that most of the
time, these experiments produce little to no value because the physiology of dogs is
so much different than that of humans and there are far better methods, such as stem
cell research, that provide much greater information. But there is an entire industry in the United
States that has no purpose but to breed dogs into life. They create life. Those dogs have no purpose but to serve as
objects of experimentation. They are kept in small cages, often never
being removed from their cages, experimented on in the most horrific ways, and then when
their usage is done as experimental objects, they are simply killed. It is incredibly immoral to create life for
no reason other than to experiment on a living being that as anyone who has dogs knows, is
capable of all kinds of emotional complexity and suffering. We were able to report on these activists
who entered Ridglan Farms, which is a large farm just west of Madison, Wisconsin, where
beagles, which are the preferred breed because they’ve been bred to be docile and sweet
and trusting of humans, are kept by the thousands and sold to research facilities at the University
of California, to corporations around the world, with very few standards about what
is done to them and to their suffering that they endure. And it’s amazing because there’s lots
of controversy in the U.S.—we love to protest dog meat festivals in China and South Korea
and act very morally outraged over the news reports that we read about that. As we should—it is horrible. But here in the United States, there is an
entire industry that subjects those dogs to methods that are just as horrible in terms
of the pain and suffering they endure, purely for commercial profit. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Glenn, could you talk about
Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s appointee to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture? His oversight role and his own record? GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. So Sonny Perdue, who is now the secretary
of agriculture under Donald Trump, is a very typical appointee, not just for the Trump
administration, but for administrations for several decades, in which he comes from the
very industry that he is now charged with regulating and overseeing. When he was governor of Georgia, he was a
huge recipient of agribusiness donations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He himself comes from that industry. He owned farms. He was I believe a veterinarian or a scientist
who cared for animals, but then in his adult life, started profiteering off of agribusiness
and then became a favored candidate of that industry and that is the reason he was chosen. And it is amazing, Juan—the secretary of
the Department of Agriculture, like all cabinet agencies, has an inspector general whose job
is to investigate its own agency and determine their own complaints with the law. And every five years starting in 1995, then
2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, the inspector general has said the same thing, which is that the
Department of Agriculture’s enforcement of even the minimum treatment requirements
for animals who are subject to experimentation, including dogs, has been so lax and so permissive
that there is no incentive for corporations even to abide by the law because even when
they purposefully and systematically violate it, they barely get fined at all. And like so many things, it has gotten somewhat
worse under the Trump Administration. But it is a continuation of what has been
going on for decades in this country when it comes to the treatment of animals for corporate
profit. Sonny Perdue is just a really vivid example
of the revolving door sleaze that is corrupting our democracy and corrupting Washington, because
it’s sort of exactly like putting the people who are most vested in allowing these industries
to get away with things in charge of enforcing the laws that apply to them AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, I wanted to
turn to a video produced by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, about their
investigation into dog experimentation by Liberty Research Incorporated. UNIDENTIFIED: If you were to drive by this
cluster of buildings, you might never imagine the pain and misery behind their walls. Dogs with holes drilled into their heads,
cats suffocated under flipped-over litter boxes, dogs injected with insecticides. This is what was documented by a PETA eyewitness
at Liberty Research, a laboratory hired by companies to conduct experiments on hundreds
of dogs and cats each year. Liberty also breeds thousands of animals to
sell for experimentation to veterinary pharmaceutical giants, government agencies and universities. Hundreds of animals at Liberty are treated
like inanimate laboratory tools and forced to suffer in experiments each year, even when
well-established non-animal methods are available. In one experiment, young dogs were injected
with megadoses of an opioid. They became lethargic and refused to eat. In another experiment, a drill was used to
bore holes into the skulls of 30 docs so that distemper virus could be injected into their
brains. Some dogs whimpered during the painful procedure,
indicating that they were not properly anesthetized. A senior worker said that one of the dogs
repeatedly banged her head on the cage floor, and others foamed at the mouth or had seizures. In an experiment sponsored by Intervet, a
subsidiary of Merck, workers injected an insecticide into dogs. Liberty’s clients include Merial, Bayer,
Merck, the USDA, Michigan State University and the universities of Pittsburgh, Florida
and Louisville, among others. AMY GOODMAN: That video produced by PETA,
the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Before we move on to break, your final comment
on this, Glenn? *GLENN GREENWALD: I think that we need to
have a reckoning with ourselves about what it is that we believe we are willing to permit
when it comes to the treatment of living beings with the capacity to feel pain and suffering. There’s a wide range of debate about whether
you should be a vegan or a vegetarian or whether it is morally permissible to eat meat. But you can set that debate aside for these
purposes, and I think we should all agree that the kind of gratuitous torture that is
being imposed on a corporate and systemic-wide basis in the United States on all kinds of
animals is just morally unconscionable and shameful and we all have the responsibility
to put a stop to it. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, we’re going
to break and then come back to talk to you about other issues, from the Mueller investigation
to what’s happening with Julian Assange. Is Ecuador trying to force him out of the
embassy in London? Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Back with him in 30 seconds.


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