Puppies and adult dogs are subjected to botched surgeries, induced heart attacks, and other invasive procedures, and then euthanized, as part of experiments carried out at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals – and you and other American taxpayers are funding it. This disturbing fact was recently uncovered at the McGuire Medical Center VA hospital in Richmond, Virginia, one of several VA facilities carrying out research on dogs. The VA’s Office of Research and Oversight also found extensive violations of federal animal welfare regulations, internal policies, and research protocols at McGuire. Today, Congress has an opportunity to reduce this unnecessary suffering by passing a bipartisan amendment that would end the most painful and distressful experiments on dogs at all VA facilities.
The U.S. House of Representatives is set to take up the Brat-Titus PUPPERS (Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species) amendment during consideration of a massive national spending bill today. We’re grateful to Reps. Dave Brat, R-Va., Dina Titus, D-Nev., Ted Poe, R-Texas, Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Brian Mast, R-Fla. and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., for introducing this amendment.
“We must have quality health care for our veterans and the best medical research, but I believe there are alternative and more humane methods that can lead to similar medical breakthroughs,” Rep. Brat said.
He’s right. Limited research dollars would be better spent on developing more efficient and effective human-based models such as The Living Heart Project—a collaborative effort between scientists, industry, and government to develop personalized digital human heart models. These and other types of cutting-edge research will move us beyond the outdated animal model and revolutionize healthcare for humans.
The HSUS is working to advance alternatives development through our leadership of The Human Toxicology Project Consortium (HTPC), a group of committed stakeholders in the corporate and nonprofit sectors who have come together to help secure the vision put forward by the National Research Council’s 2007 report, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century.” This groundbreaking report called for a move away from animal-based methods for toxicity testing towards faster, less expensive, and more human-relevant models.
But we are also beginning to work towards replacing animals in biomedical research. In fact, through our work with HTPC, The HSUS and Humane Society International recently collaborated with the National Institutes of Health on a conference bringing together scientists across agencies and industry to lay the groundwork for building the infrastructure necessary to move to a human pathway-based approach for understanding disease and for drug discovery. Efforts such as these and investment in the development of more efficient and effective human-based models is the way forward. The Humane Society Legislative Fund, with the support of The HSUS, has been instrumental in securing increased federal investment in the development and implementation of these methods.
Animal models will always have limitations, while alternatives, through sustained development of technologies, will only continue to advance. The HSUS is working toward a day when animals are no longer used in invasive research and testing, but until that day, we must work to reduce the suffering of animals in laboratories. This amendment moves us toward a more humane future in science and research. Please call your U.S. Representative today and ask him or her to support the Brat-Titus PUPPERS amendment.