The press is calling it “a win for the White Coat Waste Project, a nonprofit that frames animal rights as a conservative issue by linking it to the waste of taxpayer dollars.”
President Trump has just signed a federal spending bill that includes a WCW-backed measure that will defund most–if not all–of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) wasteful and painful dog experimentation that is opposed by veterans, taxpayers, former VA Secretary David Shulkin, and Congress itself.
Anti-animal experiment group @WhiteCoatWaste applauds @realDonaldTrump signing of ‘Omnibus’ bill because a section stops testing on puppies, dogs by Department of Veterans Affairs. #NationalPuppyDay https://t.co/5YRR1Vm0CP pic.twitter.com/hMpEcLyOQU
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) March 23, 2018
As first reported by Stars and Stripes, the bill language–which Congress included following productive discussions with White Coat Waste Project, AMVETS and other veterans’ groups–prohibits 2018 taxpayer funding of any VA dog testing unless it meets strict criteria and is personally approved by the VA Secretary, who has indicated he is seeking to phase out the practice and has already canceled several projects.
VA’s current dog experiments–which have been widely criticized by veterans’ groups for failing to help wounded warriors–entail causing heart attacks in 6-month-old beagle puppies, collapsing dogs’ lungs, and cutting into their brains. The VA is the only federal agency conducting so-called “maximum pain” tests on dogs, in which significant pain is induced but not relieved.
Veterans and lawmakers are hailing the historic victory:
As we celebrate #NationalPuppyDay, I am proud of my work w/ @RepDaveBrat to end painful and unnecessary #dog testing at the Department of #Veterans Affairs @WhiteCoatWaste https://t.co/f7kOv1Cunz pic.twitter.com/QAipNxoP0q
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) March 23, 2018
As a cosponsor of the bipartisan PUPPERS Act, proud Congress took action in the #omnibus to stop wasteful spending on cruel & unnecessary @DeptVetAffairs dog testing. #NationalPuppyDay https://t.co/EIxX7sywBD
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) March 23, 2018
In a statement, Marine Corps veteran Sherman Gillums, chief strategy officer for AMVETS, remarked:
“AMVETS commends Congress’s commitment to modernizing the VA’s research program by eliminating unnecessary, painful testing on canines. Many of the veterans we represent are dog owners. A good number of them are also veterans with disabling conditions who rely on trained service animals to provide assistance and independence. We’d like to see the VA follow the lead of other government agencies by embracing technologies that obviate the need to put would-be pets and service animals through painful experiments, many of which haven’t delivered a significant breakthrough or clinical benefits to humans in decades.”
This new legislation applies for 2018, but we still need your help to permanently cut the purse strings for VA’s dog abuse! Urge Congress to support the bipartisan PUPPERS Act to stop the VA from ever using your tax dollars to fund “maximum pain” dog experiments.