The coalition of military veterans opposed to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) painful and wasteful experiments on dogs is growing rapidly. In a new column published at Practical Politicking, Krystle Schoonveld explains why veterans like her and other taxpayers should not be forced to pay for waste, abuse and dog torture in VA laboratories.
Join Krystle and urge your Congress members to support the bipartisan PUPPERS Act to end taxpayer funding for painful dog experiments at the V.A.
by Krystle Schoonveld
The Veterans Administration has been under fire for a long time for waste and abuse. Now we can add one more heinous example of ‘abuse’ to the list.
Little do Americans know, that more than $15 billion of their tax dollars are going to fund painful experimentation on dogs and other animals, and the White Coat Waste Project (WCW) is determined to stop it. The taxpayer watchdog group was founded by Republican strategists who worked on high-profile campaigns including “Hands Off My Healthcare” and “Defund Planned Parenthood”, and are bringing principles of fiscal conservatism and small government into the fight to stop the government from forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for wasteful and cruel animal tests that a majority of Americans oppose. As WCW puts it, it is uniting more than 400,000 liberty-lovers and animal-lovers to fix this problem.
As a veteran, I was struck by WCW’s most visible campaign at the moment, which aims to expose and end the abuse of dogs in deadly taxpayer-funded experiments at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Furthermore, it is wasting money on dog abuse even though it is unable to take care of veterans.
A series of articles in the Daily Caller has reported on evidence uncovered by WCW of egregious dog abuses and accountability failures in the Richmond VA’s dog experimentation laboratory, where puppies undergo surgeries to intentionally cause them heart attacks and are then forced to run on treadmills to test their injured hearts.
Now, a VA whistleblower from the facility has come forward—an Iraq war veteran—who is horrified by what he’s seen in these dog testing labs and wants it to end. In a TV interview last night, he shared horrific photo of a dog with bloody lacerations and explained that, “The one dog had recently had some sort of procedure done where you could see the incisions.” He also told the reporter, that “you can tell they are like scared of you, very nervous, distraught, uncomfortable,“ and shockingly added, “I have seen a bowl with water and a dog heart in it.”
The VA is notorious for punishing brave whistleblowers—including in Richmond—so thank goodness President Trump recently signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 so the agency can’t retaliate against staff for exposing waste, fraud and abuse.
Aside from animal cruelty, another point this whistleblower made will resonate with everyone: “I don’t think it’s the VA’s job to be doing this to dogs…I think they should be focusing on taking care of veterans.”
Keep in mind, this is the same facility that a VA Inspector General audit criticized in March for significantly underreporting wait times for veterans seeking appointments with physicians, which conceals serious problems and ultimately prevents veterans from receiving life-saving treatment.
As one Richmond-area soldier wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this week, “Every minute and penny the VA squanders on torturing puppies in outdated and wasteful experiments — and on trying to defend them — means less help that can be provided to veterans and wounded warriors who are suffering and dying because they can’t receive basic care and services from the agency.”
WCW and Brat’s effort also has the support of veterans who are helping lead this VA reform effort. A group recently started a petition urging VA Secretary David Shulkin to end the agency’s dog experiments. They write, “The VA’s painful and deadly experiments on dogs are a betrayal of these loyal animals who literally save soldiers’ lives on and off the battlefield. These projects also waste resources desperately needed to provide veterans with care and services.”
I’m happy to see that Richmond-area Freedom Caucus Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) is leading the charge to end wasteful and painful dog testing across the VA. He just introduced the PUPPERS Act, which stands for Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species. The bill will prevent VA from spending taxpayers’ money on any dog experiments that cause significant pain, like those in Richmond, and at V.A. hospitals in Milwaukee and Cleveland.
Join me and other veterans who are supporting WCW’s campaign to save dogs, help veterans and protect taxpayers. Tell your Congress members to support the PUPPERS Act so taxpayers are longer forced to pay for this government waste and animal cruelty at the VA.