Urgent! Signatures Needed NOW To Stop U.S. Government Plans To Continue VA Experiments On Dogs

Photo from AAVS

When WAN learned that the United States Government continues to allow experimenting on dogs despite receiving backlash, we were infuriated.

According to Independent, the experiments will “include removing sections of the dogs’ brains that control breathing, sever spinal cords to test cough reflexes, and implant pacemakers before triggering abnormal heart rhythms.” As if this was not appalling enough, all the dogs will ultimately be euthanized.

While the VA has argued that these cruel experiments help lead the way to cures for veterans’ health ailments, Congress, veterans and anyone who cares about animals disagree, especially Americans whose taxes fund the research, to the tune of $15 billion every year.

In July 2017, the bipartisan PUPPERS (Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species) Act, which would end federal funding for research that causes pain or distress to dogs, was introduced in Congress by Rep. Dave Brat and Rep. Dina Titus. The bill unanimously passed the House but stalled in the Senate, thanks to the VA’s campaign to kill it.

Meanwhile, the VA has continued to conduct these experiments, according to disturbing documentation obtained by USA TODAY. Nine experiments are currently being conducted at four VA facilities.

Things were looking up in March, when Donald Trump signed the Omnibus Bill, which included a section requiring dog experiments to be directly approved by the VA secretary in order to receive funding from Congress.

Five days later, on March 28th, the same day Trump fired him, VA Secretary David Shulkin allegedly approved more experiments. Shulkin, who has since done a 180 and now opposes these experiments, told USA TODAY he “wasn’t asked, nor did I request a review for an approval.” However, VA spokesman Curt Cashour said Shulkin orally approved the experiments during a meeting that morning. The new law does not require the VA secretary’s approval to be in writing.

On April 5th, the VA ordered dozens of dogs to be used in medical research, WRIC reported at the time. The watchdog group, White Coat Waste Project, obtained the invoices.

During the last eight months, the McGuire VA Medical Center in Virginia purchased eight hounds, including two puppies, for research, WRIC reports. They’ve already killed four of those dogs.

It is feared that these horrible experiments will continue under the new VA secretary, Robert Wilkie, who was sworn in three months ago.

“Michael Vick spent time in prison doing pretty much the same thing the VA is doing now…torturing and killing the same animals that wounded vets use as service dogs and families have for pets,” said Sherman Gillums, Jr., the chief strategy officer for AMVETS (American Veterans), on the organization’s Facebook page. “Just because it’s government sanctioned doesn’t make it any different.”

The agency claims that it uses dogs in experiments “only when no other species would provide meaningful results and the work is ethically sound.” They use rats and mice most of the time. Is that supposed to make us feel better? No sentient beings should be cruelly and senselessly experimented on and killed.

Also, what could possibly be considered “ethically sound” about using any animals at all in cruel experiments in the 21st century? Humane, high-tech alternatives are available nowadays, such as synthetic dogs that have amazing, lifelike tissue and functioning body systems.

The VA has reportedly paid the National Academy of Sciences $1.3 million for a study to assess the department’s care and use of dogs in experiments.

In the meantime, Titus and Brat will continue to push to end funding for VA dog experiments, as will Rep. Brian Mast, a member of the House VA Committee.

“The VA has not executed what we wanted as intent, which is to bring this to an end in its entirety, Mast, a veteran who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan, stated on his Twitter account. “We will keep up the pressure until these invasive, painful and deadly experiments on dogs stop completely.”

Sign this Care2 petition to demand that the VA stop torturing dogs and urge Congress to pass the PUPPERS Act! SIGN HERE!

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