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Dogs deserve better than brutal VA research that wastes money better spent on veterans  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

Few members of the public are aware that the federal government uses taxpayer money to hurt puppies in painful and unnecessary lab experiments.

At the Richmond Veterans Affairs Hospital, where most of the VA’s dog testing takes place, puppies are given heart attacks by injecting latex into their arteries. The dogs are then put on treadmills to stress their compromised hearts, and they are ultimately killed and dissected.

These and other cruel practices must end.

We’ve been leading the charge against this government-funded animal abuse. Our efforts have focused on the Department of Veterans Affairs, where hounds and beagles are subjected to deadly experiments. Though the department has conducted these barbaric tests for decades, the research has not resulted in any discernible benefits for veterans in many years.

The good news is that we’re making significant progress to end the VA’s canine cruelty. Today there are just a few ongoing dog experiments thanks to pressure from grassroots advocates, sharp media scrutiny and congressional action. In Los Angeles, the VA has stopped injecting Dobermans with methamphetamines; in Milwaukee, the VA has put an end to several painful and invasive experiments on beagles. And in Cleveland, the VA just stopped severing the spinal cords of puppies in deadly tests.

Now there’s momentum to completely end this antiquated program once and for all. At our urging, the House has passed legislation this year that cuts all funding for painful dog experiments, and our bipartisan bill to permanently end VA dog testing — the Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species (PUPPERS) Act — now has over 100 co-sponsors, including 17 veterans. 

We’re optimistic because there is growing recognition that VA’s dog testing is outdated and unnecessary:

► Earlier this year, due to pressure from Congress and advocates, the VA committed $2 million to develop alternatives to its disgraceful heart attack tests on dogs.

► In May, a spinal cord injury researcher from the University of Miami told a VA-commissioned panel that dog use for spinal cord research like the tests that were being done in Cleveland is unnecessary and that alternatives are readily available. 

► Former VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin was instrumental in many of the pro-puppy reforms we’ve seen in recent years. 

And while the VA absurdly drags its feet on ending this outdated program, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control are moving away from dog experiments.

We know all too well that veterans desperately need the resources that are currently wasted on unnecessary and cruel dog testing. The brave service members who have selflessly served this nation deserve better. That’s why our movement to end these experiments has the support of many national veterans’ groups that want to end this waste and abuse.

Most importantly, our dogs — who are cherished pets, faithful partners to patriots serving abroad, and sources of comfort and healing to those who have returned home — deserve much better. Putting an end to the VA’s brutal dog experiments would be a win for veterans, taxpayer, and the dogs that are troops’ best friend. We intend to do exactly that, once and for all.

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