Federal authorities are moving 4,000 beagles from a breeding and research facility in Virginia after it was discovered that many of them were neglected or in ill health, The New York Times reports.
The news, which broke last week, piqued the interest of dog lovers across the country, some of whom volunteered to adopt one or more of the rescued animals. It also prompted questions about how often dogs are used in animal testing, and what institutional failures led to 4,000 beagles living in such poor conditions. Clinical research using dogs is much more common than you’d think, says John Basl, an associate professor of philosophy at Northeastern, though laws are in place to help prevent unnecessary suffering. But even when these regulations are followed, there remains a moral dilemma over whether animals should be used in this way, and whether dogs should be treated differently.