As White Coat Waste Project (WCW) first exposed during tax season in 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Richmond, Virginia lab was the only facility in the entire federal government using tax dollars for excruciatingly painful experiments on dogs without anesthesia.
Now, as first reported by WRIC, documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by WCW reveal that the Richmond VA has discontinued its “maximum pain” procedures on dogs and will now provide pain relief. While there is still more work to be done to end all Richmond VA dog testing, this marks the end of the worst dog experiments inside the federal government. WRIC also reported that dog testing at the Richmond VA has been cut in half since the beginning of WCW’s campaign.
The Richmond VA’s maximum pain tests involved buying healthy puppies, causing heart failure by injecting latex into their arteries or implanting devices, and then forcing them to run on treadmills to stress their damaged hearts, procedures which caused pain that was left untreated. From now on, dogs will be anesthetized during these painful procedures.
The decision follows WCW’s aggressive ongoing campaign to end this waste and abuse and a historic first-in-the-nation law enacted in Virginia last year by State Senators Bill Stanley and Glen Sturtevant–with support from WCW–specifically blocking state taxpayer funds from being used for maximum pain tests on dogs and cats. It also follows pressure from veterans and more than 115 U.S. Congressmembers–led by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Brian Mast (R-FL)–supporting the PUPPERS Act to permanently stop all painful VA dog testing.
The end of the VA’s maximum pain procedures on dogs is welcome progress, but the Richmond VA is still wasting tax dollars on painful experiments on dogs even though other VA labs have completely ended their dog experiments following WCW’s campaign. But, all of Richmond’s painful dog testing might finally come to a halt soon: The House of Representatives passed legislation earlier this year to cut all taxpayer funding for painful VA dog testing. More action on that is expected later this year. WCW also has several ongoing lawsuits against the Richmond VA and Richmond’s transit authority related to these wasteful dog experiments.
Please urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor the bipartisan PUPPERS Act (HR 1155) to permanently cut federal funding for all painful VA dog experiments!