Florida Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL)–a combat-wounded Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient–is a hero for Americans and dogs. He has been leading the charge to end wasteful and painful dog experiments at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including by helping introduce the bipartisan PUPPERS Act to permanently defund these experiments, and cosponsoring a related amendment that the House of Representatives unanimously passed in July to prohibit taxpayer-funding of these projects for 2018.
Here’s what Rep. Mast just wrote to update everyone who signed our veteran-led Change.org petition urging VA Secretary David Shulkin to end the agency’s dog experiments:
I applaud your advocacy for dogs and am excited to share some important news about my work with the White Coat Waste Project and colleagues in Congress to end abusive dog testing at the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.).
This week, after hearing from countless constituents about this issue, I helped introduce a bipartisan amendment to the V.A.’s spending bill that would prohibit taxpayer funds from being spent on dog experiments that cause the animals significant—and sometimes unrelieved—pain and distress.
I proud to report that the House of Representatives unanimously passed our amendment to cut funding for these cruel and wasteful experiments. There is still more work to do, including winning support in the Senate, but this is an important first step. It signals to the V.A. and other federal agencies that Congress will not tolerate taxpayers’ money being wasted on dog abuse.
As an Army veteran and wounded warrior, this is especially significant for me. Having sustained catastrophic injuries on the battlefield, which included the loss of both my legs, I am acutely aware of the vital role dogs play in helping troops recover from war’s physical and psychological tolls.
Additionally, given the V.A.’s limited resources, it is unjustifiable for it to spend taxpayers’ money hurting dogs in questionable experiments when veterans are unable to get the treatment and care they need. We must do better for veterans, dogs and American taxpayers.
I am grateful for your involvement and support and will continue to keep you informed about our progress on this issue.
Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL)