Cleveland VA Stops Cruel Dog Experiments, for Now at Least

From June 2018 to two months ago, 21 dogs, some as young as nine months old, were delivered to the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Ohio. They faced a horrifying fate: during an experiment, their spinal cords would be severed and their lungs collapsed. When the research project was completed, the dogs would be euthanized.

The purpose of this torture was to study how paralyzed veterans “can breathe without a ventilator, cough on their own and communicate with a stronger voice, leading to increased independence and significantly reducing respiratory infections and deaths,” according to a statement the medical center sent to WKYC in April, after local surgeon Joseph Krajekian offered to give the facility $6,000 to release three of the dogs. The VA turned down his offer.

Fortunately, there’s some good news — for now, at least. These terrible experiments are on hold, a VA spokesperson told Fox 8 Cleveland on June 12. VA documents obtained a couple months ago by the White Coat Waste Project (WCW), a nonprofit whose mission is to end cruel taxpayer-funded animal testing, confirm that the final delivery of “mongrel/hounds” from Marshall Bioresources was on April 4, 2019. No additional dogs have been purchased by the Cleveland VA Medical Center since then.

“This could spell the end of this widely-opposed program,” wrote Justin Goodman, WCW vice president of advocacy and public policy, on the organization’s blog June 13. The program had been scheduled to end in September.

Could the end to these experiments possibly be permanent rather than temporary? Well, it’s a really good sign that the House Appropriations Committee’s 2020 spending bill for the Department of Veteran Affairs includes a measure to remove funding for experiments on dogs.

Section 247 of the spending bill states that none of the funds may be used by the VA “to purchase, breed, transport, house, feed, maintain, dispose of, or experiment on dogs” as part of any study that inflicts pain and distress on the animals.

The Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species (PUPPERS) Act (H.R. 1155), re-introduced to Congress earlier this year, also prohibits the VA from performing these cruel experiments. The act had unanimous, bipartisan support in the House last year but stalled in the Senate, thanks to opposition from — you guessed it — the VA.

Passage of the PUPPERS Act would be the “the final nail in the coffin of this awful program,” said Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), a veteran who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan. Mast reintroduced the bill in February with Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.).

The VA spokesperson told Fox 8 Cleveland this research is “absolutely necessary to better treat life-threatening health conditions in our veterans.” But many people, including veterans like Mast, disagree.

It’s the 21st century after all, and technology is already available that makes testing on live animals not only cruel but, despite what the VA claims, absolutely unnecessary.

Perhaps Sherman Gillums, Jr., chief strategy officer for the nonprofit service organization AMVETS (American Veterans), said it best. “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,” he stated on the AMVETS Facebook page last November.

“Just because it’s government sanctioned doesn’t make it any different.”

Take Action

Please join over 262,000 people who have signed this petition urging Congress to pass the PUPPERS Act so no dogs will ever have to suffer in VA experiments again.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. Youll find Care2s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

Photo credit: ewhity

56 comments

Judith H
Judith Hannahyesterday

Thankyou

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heather g
heather g4 days ago

In September we should all sign another petition - otherwise, it will continue,

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Alea C
Alea C8 days ago

It's looking like Care2 isn't going to be posting any more stories, so every day I will post on these old ones for the butterfly points because I want to save the rain forest.

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Alea C
Alea C8 days ago

It's looking like Care2 isn't going to be posting any more stories, so every day I will post on these old ones for the butterfly points because I want to save the rain forest.

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Chad Anderson
Chad A9 days ago

Thank you.

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susan a
susan a14 days ago

Signed!! The words "For now at least" enrages me!!I am sick to the soul to be constantly signing petitions to end the suffering (at the hands of man)of animals ,when all we ever need to ask is..."Would i like it done to me?" And there the line should be drawn!

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D18 days ago

I also signed the petitions by White Coat Waste Project on this issue along with the Care2 petition. I do not like the "for now" portion of this news. For now needs to be changed to for ever!!! And ever!!!

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Muriel S
Muriel Servaege20 days ago

Such experiments should be stopped. Now, experiements on octopi are popular. New victims have to be found so scientists can keep their jobs.

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Isabel A
Isabel A24 days ago

thanks very much

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD25 days ago

tyfs

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