Over the past few years, we’ve made remarkable progress to cut wasteful and cruel taxpayer-funded dog experiments at the Department of Veterans Affairs. But the VA’s last dog lab standing has renewed taxpayer funding for some of the worst dog experiments in the entire federal government.
Documents we’ve obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that a total of 66 dogs will be tortured then killed in two separate experiments at VA labs in Richmond, Virginia. These experiments are wasteful, outdated, and unnecessary, and could be ended with the passage of important bipartisan legislation called the PUPPERS Act, which currently has of 120 cosponsors.
In one experiment, 28 dogs—hound-type dogs are preferred in labs because of their gentle natures—will have their chests surgically opened, twice, to induce an irregular heartbeat. Botox and other chemicals will be injected into their bodies. The dogs will then be forced to run on treadmills for to stress their compromised hearts. Afterwards, they will be killed.
For the second experiment, 38 dogs will have pacemakers surgically implanted in their bodies to damage their hearts. Then they, too, will be forced to run on treadmills, before they are killed.
All the dogs suffer extreme pain and distress, and have unnaturally short lives. A heartbreaking detail found in documents obtained by White Coat Waste Project: the dogs are given ice cream as an occasional treat while in the lab—treated to ice cream by those who also torture them. In another document, a veterinarian notes that a dog who is “bright, alert and responsive” is “awaiting her final procedure”—the one that will kill her.
None of the dogs have adoption as a light at the end of this dark tunnel. If we don’t shut the experiments down, there will be no survivors.
These dog experiments have been going on at the Richmond VA’s labs since the 1980s without producing any useful results. That’s why there is widespread support for reforms. Most veterans support ending the VA dog tests, as do 75% of voters. Late last year, following efforts by WCW, Congress and President Trump enacted a historic phase-out of VA dog tests by 2025.
The Richmond facility is the only VA lab left actively conducting painful dog experiments, and the VA is looking to replace them with alternatives. But change isn’t happening soon enough.
It’s unacceptable for the Department of Veterans Affairs to use taxpayer dollars to fund cruel, unnecessary experiments on animals at the VA. Protecting cats and dogs is common sense, and I’m glad we were able to come together to get this done.https://t.co/Fr8HDVMfwQ
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) December 20, 2019
Please show your support for these 66 dogs, and those who will be forced to follow in their grim footsteps, by writing your Congress members and urging them to support the bipartisan PUPPERS Act (HR 1155) to permanently cut federal funding for all painful dog experiments at the VA.