Bill to prohibit VA from using dogs for barbaric medical research advances

Proposed legislation from the House appropriators, advancing a Department of Veterans Affairs funding bill which will prohibit the department from using dogs for barbaric medical research, moves on to the House of Representatives next week.

The bill would bar the Veteran’s Administration from using dogs in any experiments that would cause the animals pain beyond minor discomfort or momentary discomfort – perhaps as an injection.

According to, the department doubled down on using dogs for research including experiments involving cardiovascular and spinal cord injuries and diseases, citing the research is necessary A report, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine stated the experiments were “scientifically necessary,” but they are no longer the “preferred model for studies” for other conditions that the VA studies, including narcolepsy, imaging studies and pharmacological research.

Representative Dina Titus, (D-Nevada) co-sponsor with  Representative Brian Mast stated the experiments are cruel and unnecessary.

“… There are several high quality, innovative alternatives available to conduct this research. I’m proud that the Appropriations Committee passed the proposal,” Titus stated.

For several other lawmakers, including Brian Mast (R-FL) who lost both his legs in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan,  the recommendations by the Academies were not sufficient.

“These painful experiments on dogs are cruel and an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars. We’ve worked hard to put a stop to them, and this is another great milestone in our fight. It’s 2020 and there should be no more dog testing by the federal government, period,” Mast stated in a release.

Previous experiments at the McGuire VA Medical Center in Virginia surgically implanted pacemakers in the dogs and then made them run on treadmills. At the end the dogs were killed. The dogs were never given any pain relief. Other experiments included subjecting Doberman Pinschers to injections of methamphetamines. Eight other experiments were carried out on dogs not approved by the VA secretary as required by law.

In addition, the legislation also would require the VA to release a study on the effectiveness of service dogs used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and asks for a report on the options and estimated costs for providing service dogs to veterans.

White Coat Waste Project
“Congress has just made clear that taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for heart attack tests on puppies & other wasteful, cruel & secretive VA dog tests that are opposed by veterans, scientists & a majority of other Americans,” wrote Justin Goodman, vice president of the advocacy group, White Coat Waste Project.

Read prior coverage here.

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