DENVER (CBS4) - Unusual billboards are going up around Denver asking that drug testing on beagles be stopped, and they specifically blast one testing lab in Fort Collins.
The billboards specifically ask state Department of Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar to shut down experiments on beagles. They say that CARE Research in Fort Collins "has racked up serious violations of federal law, and it was fined for the unexplained deaths of three beagles."
"They were found by an employee which reported signs of internal bleeding," said Dr. Hayley Burke, who is part of a 12,000-member physician group responsible for posting the billboards.
Burke wants to see changes made at CARE Research facilities where beagles are currently used to test pharmaceuticals products. She claims some of the dogs there are suffering.
"Hemorrhage from the orifices as well as their (gastro-intestinal) systems, as well as evidence of dehydration, which should not have been part of their research protocol," Burke said.
Last week CBS4 did a story with another beagle testing lab in Fort Collins that does not have any serious violations against it, which is why the physicians group is not targeting that company with billboards.
"First of all, I haven't seen them," Salazar told CBS4.
Salazar says he's baffled at why he's been asked to help resolve any sort of beagle problem.
"The CARE facility in Fort Collins is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we have no jurisdiction whatsoever, and I want people to understand that," Salazar said.
CARE Research released a statement saying, "CARE Research is highly regulated by the FDA and the USDA." A contract employee for the company goes on to say, "I'm not involved in that part of their operation, but they tell me they are fully compliant and follow all guidelines."
For now 10 billboards are calling attention to the issue of beagles in that one particular laboratory testing facility.
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