By Marin Carey
Government funded invasive experiments and trials by The Department of Veterans Affairs have resulted in the injuring and death of numerous dogs which has caused an uproar in the animal rights community. Activists are pushing to defund these programs as well as rid harmful animal testing from their protocol.
These tests have taken place on over 100 unwilling canines, including 6 month old beagle puppies. Each animal will be subject to a number of torturous procedures to look at the effects of heart disease and other ailments. They implant pacemakers in dogs, run them on treadmills and perform various tests, injecting medications, inducing irregular heartbeats, creating heart attacks and blocking arteries with latex. All dogs will be killed at the end of the trials, some by draining their blood.
Investigations followed after it came forward that members of the organization were going forth with using the animals as subjects without clearance from the leaders. The VA has said from now on they will require more in depth analysis of procedure plans as well as document that the animals are being treated correctly.
“VA programs that have dog research as a component will now be visited more frequently by our accrediting body,” Michael Fallon, the VA’s chief veterinary medical officer said.
Four dogs had serious complications following surgeries. Investigators found a dog got an overdose of anesthetic during one surgery but recovered, and two dogs suffered disturbance of nerves controlling digestive functions that left them with “significant nausea, lethargy, anorexia and weight loss. Those findings helped fuel an effort on Capitol Hill to put a stop to VA dog experiments that are painful for the dogs. The House quietly passed legislation in July eliminating funding for such research.
Despite many advocates for the animal’s right to an independent life, some scientists argue that canine testing is still critically important to medical research. Usually these scientists credit modern advancements that were aided by animal testing, but did not rely on it. The question remains weather it is fair to continue to take an innocent animal’s life for the convenience of furthering human advancement.