Beagle owners hope to educate others about animal testing at research facilities

Almost two years after 4,000 beagles were rescued from a research breeding facility in Virginia, a reunion is taking place in Central Florida.

According to Michael Taylor, founder of Finding Connections-Envigo Beagles and the organizer of the Envigo beagle meetup, more than 200 of the rescued dogs were transported to Florida. Taylor has five beagles; two are from the Envigo, a research breeding facility.

"You just have to be patient and show them a lot of love," Taylor said.

The Envigo facility in Cumberland County, Virginia, was shut down in 2022. It bred dogs and supplied them to testing labs. Others like it still operate today.

"According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 48,000 dogs are currently being experimented on," Ellie Hansen said. "That’s a lot of cruelty."

Hansen is the founder of Dog Research Exposed, a non-profit that advocates for animals in testing and research breeding facilities. She took her efforts first to the airwaves by launching a podcast and then to the streets with a custom-wrapped RV. She, her husband, and their dogs travel the country, educating people about animal testing practices.

"It’s one thing to tell somebody about it, but when you show them a dog with a tattoo in their ear, that’s a powerful story," said Hansen.

Hansen’s beagle, Cedric, was rescued from the Envigo facility. He has the letters ‘CMF CHS’ tattooed inside his ear."That’s how they identify them… basically pieces of inventory," Hansen said. They use beagles mostly for research because they’re so sweet and docile. They won’t bite you. You can do anything to them, and they’re small, so they can fit into small cages."


Hansen said she aims to use her mobile platform to urge companies to stop testing on animals, release captive animals to rescue groups and invest in technology that better aligns with their goals.

"[Testing] human drugs on dogs has a huge failure rate; it’s like over 92% of drugs that might pass in a dog will fail in a human clinical trial," Hansen said.

An online petition, started by Hansen’s non-profit, currently has 14,000 signatures in support of shuttering animal testing and animal research breeding facilities. She hopes to gain more at the Envigo beagle meet-up on April 6 at the dog park on Paige Avenue off South Glencoe Road. All Envigo owners and beagles are invited to the 10 a.m. reunion.

"Life is better with a beagle," said Taylor, reading his t-shirt.

Taylor organized the event to bring the beagle-bonded community together. A data analyst, Taylor used his stills to link many of the 4,000 rescued dogs.

"I was the one that actually cracked the code on what these ear tattoos mean," Taylor said.

According to Taylor, he used their ear codes to track down dogs’ records and bloodlines, an effort to connect dots and create connections.

For Hansen, she said she is grateful for Cedric, and his optimistic outlook on life pushes her forward in the fight for animal rights.

"It’s amazing to me how brave and curious he is. He loves people, and he loves other dogs," Hansen said. "He just drinks in every day, and every adventure, and he never doesn’t want to do something with us. He just wants to be a part of life, and I’m so thankful he gets to do that."