Photo: Rescued dogs in Brazil
A group of 100 animal-rights activists made off with 178 dogs that were being used in laboratory experiments at the Instituto Royal in the city of Sao Roque, some 59 kilometers (37 miles) from Sao Paulo, various sources said.
A number of social movements and animal-defense groups posted videos on the Internet of the action taken to “free” the beagles at around 2:00 a.m. Friday.
Those behind the break-in said the animals were being used in experiments the laboratory was carrying out for pharmaceutical companies and that they took the dogs to veterinarian clinics in the region.
Activist Giuliana Stefanini said that “six of the puppies had tumors or were mutilated,” adding that “the most surprising thing was a dog with no eyes,” in a statement cited in the online edition of the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
The activists also said they found several rat fetuses in the lab and a puppy frozen in liquid nitrogen.
The Instituto Royal will bring a lawsuit against the activists, scientific director Joao Antonio Pegas Henriques said Friday.
Videos from the lab’s security cameras will be used to identify the guilty parties, he told local media, adding that some equipment had also been stolen during the break-in.
The laboratory’s scientific director added that, “besides taking away the animals, the invaders knocked down doors, destroyed installations and stole computers and documents.”
The five security agents who were in the lab at the time were unable to halt the invasion.
Some of the activists returned Friday afternoon to gather in front of the laboratory to protest the use of dogs for lab experiments and announced there would be further protests on Saturday.
Activist Rosa Aparecido da Silva told reporters that the invasions will not stop because “it’s not enough to free the animals, we have to go a step further and shut down this institution.”