UPDATE December 29, 2020: The VA’s 2021 funding bill has been signed into law! After WCW’s exposé of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ disturbing cat experiments—and our ongoing campaign to stop the VA’s abuse of dogs—Congress has renewed its funding prohibition and restrictions on the VA’s dog, cat, and primate testing (see Sec. 247 on page 1236).
The WCW-backed language, which has been included in federal spending bills since 2018, has prevented any new cat, dog, and primate testing from starting and directs the agency to phase it out entirely by 2025. We’ll keep working toward a complete defunding of the VA’s sick and wasteful dog experiments. Read about this and WCW’s other wins for taxpayers and animals in the 2021 government funding bill in our new blog.
UPDATE July 24, 2020: We’re a step closer to ending all taxpayer funded dog experiments at the VA! The VA’s 2021 funding bill just passed the full House of Representatives, with our defund language in it. (WOO.) The bill now goes to the Senate. We’ll keep you posted!
💥 💥💥 THIS IS REALLY HUGE 💥 💥 💥: Following WCW’s years-long campaign, the U.S. House’s funding committee has just voted to completely defund ALL dog testing at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Now take another moment to let out a gigantic WOO HOOOOOOO!
This major move forward comes after nearly four years of pressure from White Coat Waste Project and our two million members, veterans groups including AMVETS, and strong leadership from key members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, including Appropriations Chairperson Nita Lowey (D-NY), VA funding panel Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and PUPPERS Act co-leads Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Army veteran Brian Mast (R-FL). Other military veterans including Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) have worked closely with us to hold VA accountable.
I’m fighting hard this week to end painful experiments at the VA once and for all! These experiments are cruel, and they are an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars. It’s well past time to bring them to an end.https://t.co/qUBtG5oBrg
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) July 21, 2020
Led by Reps. Titus and Mast with support from WCW, more than 50 bipartisan Congressmembers signed a letter earlier this year requesting the defund language.
Last year’s VA spending bill strengthened existing restrictions on VA dog testing won by WCW, and extended them to cat and primate experiments. The bill also contained historic language included by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) directing the VA to formulate a plan to phase-out dog, cat, and primate testing by 2025.
The timeline just got moved forward by the language in this year’s bill, which, if enacted, prohibits the VA from using any allocated funds for dog experimentation starting on October 1, 2020. (This is the Fiscal Year 2021 VA spending bill, which governs the VA’s budget from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.)
You can read the bill here—the language defunding all dog testing starts on page 70.
This important legislation comes less than a week after the National Academies of Science released a report affirming our stance that the VA’s barbaric, taxpayer-funded dog testing program is wasteful, cruel, secretive, and in need of drastic reform.
Thanks to WCW’s advocacy and Congressional leadership, the VA’s use of dogs in painful experiments is already at its lowest point in recent memory.
If the bill does indeed become law, which we are working very hard to make sure happens, it will spell the almost immediate end of the VA’s shameful taxpayer-funded dog testing program!
The subcommittee’s bill now goes to the full House Appropriations Committee and then the entire House for a vote. Then it goes to the Senate, before being signed into law by the President.
In addition to the important language in this year’s VA spending bill, more than 120 members of Congress have joined our fight by introducing the Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species (PUPPERS) Act (HR 1155) to de-fund “maximum pain” experiments and other cruel and wasteful dog testing at the VA.
Please take a moment to write your members of Congress, and urge them to support the bipartisan PUPPERS Act (HR 1155) to permanently cut federal funding for all painful dog experiments at the VA!