Marshall BioResources’ large breeding warehouses resemble those on other factory farms, from the automated food system to the vast landscape of dozens of windowless sheds. Animals inside these sheds spend their lives in elevated cages with wire flooring. They never have the opportunity to experience what all animals enjoy—companionship, a comfortable place to sleep, soft earth beneath their feet.
How is this factory farm different? Inside, Marshall BioResources is breeding and confining dogs destined for the animal experimentation industry, as revealed in a recent investigation by Rise for Animals.
What Is Marshall BioResources?
Marshall BioResources, also known as Marshall Farms, confines approximately 23,000 dogs inside its sheds on any given day. The company is one of the largest dog breeders for the animal experimentation industry in the United States. Most of the dogs bred here are beagles, the breed of choice for experimenters because of their docile nature—they are gentle, less likely to bite back. The same qualities that make beagles wonderful family dogs are sadly the qualities turned against them, as the targets of invasive and painful experiments. Marshall also breeds “mongrels” and other hounds for experimentation.
Generally, the only time dogs at Marshall are taken out of their cages is for various “procedures” like being branded with a tattoo inside their ear (a standard practice), put into carts and moved to other sheds, or loaded onto trucks bound for laboratories across the country.
Marshall also breeds and sells cats, ferrets, minipigs, and other animals to laboratories. In fact, they are the largest ferret breeder in the world, selling them not only to labs but also to retailers like Petco.
Since 2007, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have cited Marshall for more than 20 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. These violations often flag inadequate veterinary care or poor living conditions that leave dogs standing in their own filth in wire cages. For example, one dog couldn’t put weight on their hind leg because a growth between their toes had become inflamed and painful:
“…the dog in 27-119 was noted to be lame on the LR leg, having what appeared to be an inflamed interdigital cyst.”USDA APHIS Inspection Report
Shocked you haven’t heard of Marshall BioResources before now? You’re not alone—Marshall works hard to stay in the dark. Even people who live in the area don’t know about them. Local animal advocates in New York State, where Marshall is located, compare its facilities to a maximum-security prison. Alongside the public road, tall pines block the public view of the long sheds. On multiple occasions, private security has followed cars in the area and called the cops on activists trying to legally film from public spaces.
That’s why when Rise for Animals wanted a better look, we took to the sky, capturing video footage of the scale of Marshall’s factory farm using a drone.
Their lives only get worse when they leave Marshall
Many of the dogs inside this massive puppy mill will never get to experience the warmth of the sun on their backs until the day they are loaded into a shipping truck on their way to a new cage—this time, inside a laboratory. There, they will be victims of unimaginable pain and suffering.
Dogs are often used in toxicology studies, where experimenters force them to inhale or ingest harmful chemicals. They are also sent to universities that use our tax dollars to subject dogs and other animals to painful and deadly experiments. It’s part of a billion-dollar industry that uses nearly 60,000 dogs for experiments in the United States every year.
In one experiment uncovered by Rise for Animals, a Ph.D. student at Temple University working on her dissertation used dozens of mixed hounds from Marshall BioResources. This experimenter was slicing the spinal roots of these dogs, cutting off their tails, and implanting electrodes on their bladders. The dogs were euthanized as part of the research, sometimes having their bladders cut from their abdomens before being euthanized—and at least one was killed because the dog was too ill with kidney and bladder stones to continue being used in the study. The student mockingly titled the paper, in part, “To Pee or Not To Pee.”
In another experiment Rise uncovered, 40 eight-month-old beagle puppies from Marshall BioResources were used in a cannabis experiment. Every day for 52-56 weeks, they had a tube forced down their throats and into their stomachs so that experimenters could pump them full of cannabis extract. Seven of the puppies died before the end of the experiment; one died only two weeks into the experiment. Examinations determined that they died following “reflux and aspiration of stomach contents and/or formulated treatment into the lungs rather than a drug-related effect.”
Experimenting on animals isn’t just profitable for universities and private contract labs—it’s also big money for Marshall and other breeders for the industry. Records obtained by Rise for Animals through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state open records laws show that many laboratories pay more than $1,000 per dog, after factoring in Marshall’s shipping fees. Rise has identified more than 100 laboratories across the United States that have purchased and experimented on animals from Marshall Farms, and we continue to discover more.
Buying the wrong pet toys and treats supports this torture
The profits don’t stop with the animals bred and sold to laboratories. Marshall BioResources also owns Marshall Pet Products, a primarily ferret-focused brand sold in pet stores around the country–even stores who are committed to never selling dogs for profit or refuse to sell dogs from shady breeders. Targeting “animal lovers,” these products include treats and toys, like wading pools for animals that “love to splash and play.” Many retailers—and their customers—are kept in the dark, unaware that money spent on these products lands in the same pockets as the executives that operate Marshall BioResources.
We need your help to shut them down
Animal lovers everywhere agree—all dogs deserve space to run outside, a comfortable place to sleep, and love. The dogs and other animals bred and held captive at Marshall will never have these basic needs met. We need your help to shut them down and ensure future generations of dogs won’t be put through this torment.
Amy Meyer is the Director of Grassroots Organizing at Rise for Animals.