In Richmond, Virginia, researchers at the McGuire VA Medical Center continue to move ahead with performing fatal experiments on dogs as part of the medical research program ranging from spinal cord injuries to breathing problems suffered by veterans. In the last eight months, eight dogs were purchased for research and four have already been killed.
According to WricNews, two of the dogs purchased were puppies. The research into heart disease involves the dogs to be surgically implanted with pacemakers. They are then made to run on a treadmill until they collapse. At the end of the experiment, the dogs are killed.
Despite the ongoing outrage from the public and politicians, there are four active studies going on at McGuire. Supporters state the discoveries could help veterans with heart disease. And although there is a federal law aimed at defunding these horrible experiments, there also exists a typical political loophole in decisions made by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this case, if there is a direct approval from the VA Secretary to continue the experiments, it all becomes a green light. Former Secretary David Shulkin, appointed and fired a year later by President Trump, had allegedly given verbal approval for the experiments to continue on March 28 – the day he was fired.
In public statements, Shulkin denies he was ever asked and insists he gave no approval, but had given the authority to decide on the dogs’ fates to the agency’s research specialists. If Shulkin did not give permission, the experiments are therefore violating federal law.
Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer money for USDA “category E” experiments; no anesthesia is given to the dogs. Many do say the experiments are painful to the animals and the dogs are given anesthesia.
Republican Senator Bill Stanley is shocked that these crude experiments still continue despite legislation passed and has offered to buy the dogs back so they can have a life free from suffering. Congressman Brian Mast from Florida, a double amputee, has described how dogs play key roles in helping troops recover from war’s mental, psychological and physical injuries, and the experiments on dogs have to cease.
In 2018, 25 dogs have been used in experiments. Numerous animal rescues and humane organizations have reached out to the hospital offering to take the dogs, rehabilitate them and adopt them out to loving homes, but McGuire has never responded.
(Statistic screenshots via AbcNews Wric)
Just a ridiculously cute puppy…