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VA tightens oversight after outrage over conducting experiments on dogs, then killing them

DONOVAN SLACK: ‘The Department of Veterans Affairs is tightening oversight of controversial medical experiments on dogs after an investigation found surgery failures and canine deaths in research projects at a VA facility in Virginia — findings that spurred a push in Congress to defund the experiments altogether. Nationwide, invasive experiments at three VA facilities are slated to include roughly 300 dogs, including 6-month-old Beagle puppies, and involve surgeries on their brains, spines and hearts by researchers seeking treatments for heart disease and other ailments. All the dogs will be killed when the research is complete. Going forward, top VA veterinary officials will have to approve any research on dogs, and scientists will have to review proposed dog experiments more rigorously, says Michael Fallon, the VA’s chief veterinary medical officer… But opponents say most such research hasn’t translated to humans. They contend the VA is relying on outdated models that don’t fully take into account scientific advances that may provide alternatives to dogs as research subjects

… “The VA is abusing its authority and fear-mongering to defend taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs that are cruel and unlikely to help veterans or anybody else,” said Justin Goodman, vice president of White Coat Waste Project, an advocacy group that wants to cut off money for the agency’s dog experiments. He and others say researchers made the same arguments about chimpanzees until a federal study found that most experiments on chimps were unnecessary and the National Institutes of Health stopped funding research using chimpanzees in 2015′. SOURCE…

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