Update: Based on PETA’s evidence and following a police investigation, the Alexandria City Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has filed 25 criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against Bio Corporation related to drowning pigeons and injecting live crayfish with liquid latex.
The following was originally published on November 21, 2017:
A PETA eyewitness investigation of Bio Corporation—a Minnesota company that sells animals slated for classroom dissection to school districts across the country—has revealed nightmarish practices fit for a horror movie and a callous staff more than willing to carry them out. Here are some of the atrocities uncovered:
- Pigeons packed into crates then drowned in tubs of water
- Crayfish injected with liquid latex while still breathing
- Fully conscious turtles reportedly placed in freezers
- Live rabbits reportedly forced inside a machine
A Slow, Agonizing Way to Die
Pigeons arrived at Bio Corporation alive and tightly packed into plastic crates. Workers submerged the crates in tubs of water, drowning the birds, and a worker admitted that they died slowly.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) deems death by drowning inhumane and unacceptable. A veterinarian who watched PETA’s footage commented that drowning would cause the pigeons “prolonged pain and distress” for as long as 10 minutes. The birds would panic, hyperventilate, and struggle to keep their heads above water. They would then hold their breath until they couldn’t any longer. At that point, their lungs would fill with water—leading to vomiting, painful spasms of the airways, and, finally, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, and death.
Turtles 'Come Back to Life' and Are Refrozen
Turtles were shipped frozen to Bio Corporation, but workers—including a supervisor—said that these animals sometimes “come back to life.” Staff said that the fully conscious turtles were then put back into a freezer.
One worker said that it’s “creepy as shit” when coworkers “put ’em in the freezer so they fucking freeze … it’s pretty fucking cool.”
One veterinarian said that the turtles would experience hypothermia, pain, and prolonged suffering. Clifford Warwick, one of the world’s leading herpetologists, stated: “Induced hypothermia (cooling) or freezing as a method of killing reptiles (including turtles) without prior complete desensitization and unconsciousness (e.g. anaesthesia) has been specifically declared inhumane and unacceptable …. [T]here is no rationale or defensible basis for killing turtles by freezing.”
Death by Latex Injection
Live crayfish were shipped to Bio Corporation in boxes without air holes. After arrival, they were injected, while fully conscious, with liquid latex. A worker admitted that this method also killed animals slowly. According to one veterinarian, the crayfish would “likely experience prolonged pain and suffering as a result of oxygen deprivation to tissues, suffocation, and cellular trauma and death.”
Haunting Image of Lives Lost
In the dissection industry, dead cats are purchased from shelters for a few dollars each. Some of the cats bought by Bio Corporation were wearing collars when they arrived. Workers hung up the collars in a morbid display of all that remained of the animals who might once have been someone’s cherished family member.
One worker said, “I know it’s fucked up and morbid, but we think it’s funny.” Another called this “a tradition” and said it was “a little” creepy.
A Cruel, Archaic Industry
The list of atrocities committed by the dissection industry is long and sordid. At Bio Corporation, live rabbits were put into “a machine,” according to a worker. PETA’s previous investigations into biological supply companies have uncovered other acts of cruelty, including the drowning of rabbits and the embalming of cats while they were still alive. And each year, millions of frogs are captured in their natural habitats for dissection and experimentation.
Dissection supply companies like Bio Corporation also sell fetal pigs (bought from slaughterhouses where their mothers were probably killed), sheep eyes, bull testicles, snakes, sharks, and other animals.
We Can End Dissection
Companies such as Bio Corporation continue these hideous practices because schools continue to purchase animals for dissection, even though modern and humane alternatives exist and are increasingly being adopted.
Please send polite comments to Linda Macias, Ed.D., Associate Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction and Accountability at Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District at [email protected]. Then, use the form to urge the other school districts and education officials that purchase animals from Bio Corporation to stop buying animals for dissection exercises and to replace them with modern, humane methods like these.