They Breed Dogs for Experiments, But Don’t Want You to See

The Rise for Animals Team, March 14, 2024

Ridglan Farms is one of the largest, domestic breeders and sellers of dogs (specifically, beagles) to animal research laboratories. It’s also a research facility that experiments on dogs.

In 2017, three members of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) entered Ridglan Farms’ facility and rescued from, among the almost 4,000 dogs trapped inside, three beagles  “who appeared to be in particular distress”.

All three rescuers were charged with felony burglary and theft (facing up to 16 years in prison and $35,000 in fines), and their trial was scheduled for March 18th in Dane County, Wisconsin. Then, last week – just 10 days before the trial was set to begin – the state dropped all the charges, citing Ridglan’s “desire to no longer have this case proceed to trial’” for reasons that included concerns “‘for their business’”. 

Almost certainly, Ridglan does not want to pursue this prosecution for the exact, but opposite, reason that DxE fought for the prosecution to proceed: the trial would shed light on Ridglan’s operations.

We’ve previously argued that, if animal research facilities had glass walls, they would face overwhelming opposition; and that, for this reason, the animal research industry fights daily to keep its operations hidden away from public view. Ridglan’s decision to drop its case is almost certainly an example of this.

Indeed, DxE’s practice of “open rescue” – which saved the lives of the three beagles taken from Ridglan – is a tactic intended to fight back against the secrecy in which the animal industrial complex shrouds itself and on which it very clearly relies. Explains one of the rescuers: “People don’t actually get to see what’s going on inside of them. And so our theory is, we want to go in and show everybody, show the public what’s really happening behind these closed doors….”

Doing just this – showing the public what’s happening behind the closed doors of places like Ridglan – has already garnered public support for animal protection. In fact, DxE believes “this dismissal is the result of pressure and press coverage that made it very clear that there is public support for animal rescue.”

As this support increases, we inch closer to a tipping point – or, as journalists for The Intercept predict: “a direct collision [] between the rapidly evolving scientific understanding of the capacity of animals to suffer, emote, and possess self-consciousness (as Stephen Hawking and other leading neuroscientists recognized), and the legalized tolerance for mass animal abuse.”

Indeed, Ridglan is just one of an unknown number of animal exploiting, commercial enterprises that commodify, harm, and kill millions upon millions of animals every year. Just a single one. 

Ridglan’s practices are not fundamentally worse than its industry “peers”, and Ridglan is not  more unethical for exploiting dogs (as opposed to another species) – the beagles suffering at Ridglan matter just as much, though not more, than any of the other animals whose suffering remains hidden from us.

Join us in recognizing that Ridglan is but one example of the monstrous animal research industry, and join us in both opposing the practices of all of the industry’s players and speaking up for all of the industry’s victims.

Start by following Rise for Animals on Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram and, then, checking out the DxE offshoot Better Science Campaign.

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