Days after Congress voted unanimously to defund the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) painful and wasteful dog experiments, the VA put its head of animal experimentation on TV to do damage control. In his desperate attempt to deflect mounting criticism, the VA’s top animal testing official categorically denied some of the most well-documented and disturbing facts about the deadly projects. Below are the VA’s three biggest whoppers and the contradictory evidence.
VA lie #1: “We are not using any puppies in the research at Richmond. I keep seeing these news reports of puppies. That’s not true.”
As the interviewer pointed out–and the Daily Caller documented meticulously based on documents obtained by WCW–virtually all of the dogs used for the heart attack experiments at the Richmond VAMC facility are puppies between 5 and 12 months old. VA’s official on-the-record response to this discrepancy: maybe they were puppies, but they “were adult size”!
VA lie #2: “It’s simply not true that [the dogs in Richmond] are in pain or distress.”
As has been widely reported, documents obtained by WCW show that all of the Richmond VAMC’s experiments on dogs—by definition—involve significant pain and distress, and some of the projects in Richmond involve pain and distress that is left unrelieved.
For instance, one of the current Richmond VAMC experiments involves creating a “dog model of heart attack.” In the application, VA experimenters write: “This project requires that we make a myocardial infarction…Unfortunately, the side effects of having a large myocardial infarction are chest pain, shortness of breath, and occasionally nausea….Some canines may experience acute cariogenic shock….This may cause the animals to experience pain, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath or even syncope.”
Last month, a Richmond VAMC whistleblower came forward with photographs of dogs in the facility, including a hound with substantial wounds from an invasive surgery to cause heart damage.
VA lie #3: “The Richmond program properly self-reported its problems long before even anyone else knew about them”
While several botched surgeries that killed dogs at the Richmond VAMC were uncovered by WCW after being internally reported by the facility, the following in-depth VA investigation prompted by our exposé found widespread oversight failures and animal welfare violations at Richmond that had not been previously identified or documented.
One outlet covering the VA investigation wrote, “What’s notable about this report is that it found new evidence that animal welfare and oversight failures were still occurring as of April 2017 when ORO conducted an investigation. White Coat Waste Project’s initial complaint in March, which sparked the investigation, detailed concerns stemming back to December 2015-2016. The new problems were only discovered upon the ORO’s visit to the Richmond VA in April.”
Help us hold the VA accountable for its blatant waste, abuse and deception. Urge your Congress members to support the bipartisan PUPPERS Act to end taxpayer funding for VA’s painful dog experiments.