VA Hospital Faces Animal Abuse Accusations After Dogs Die During Animal Testing

Posted by Amber King
VA hospital
8News

A Virginia Veteran's hospital is facing animal abuse accusations after at least three dogs died during medical experimentation.

It's not a secret that McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond, Viginia is experimenting on dogs. They're part of a network of VA medical facilities using dogs to research diabetes, brain function, and the effects canines have on PTSD treatment. But recent reports show disturbing news coming from McGuire's animal testing facility.

White Coat Waste Project is a group of activists fighting for animal rights and condemning taxpayer-funded animal experimentation. According to their resources obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, McGuire is using taxpayer money to fund unnecessary and allegedly abusive experiments on dozens of dogs.

The group recently released information obtained from McGuire incident reports detailing how researchers are inducing heart attacks, botching surgeries, and performing medical simulations that mutilate and kill their canine test subjects. Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy for White Coat Waste Project, told 8News:

"Dozens of dogs are being subjected to experiments in which--and these are healthy dogs, Beagles, mutts, sometimes puppies--who have their chests cut open, devices implanted to intentionally give them irregular heartbeats."

Dog Recovering In Vet's Kennels

In one incident report, that particular procedure resulted in "sudden cardiac death." Goodman goes on to say;

"They force heart attacks on them, force them to run on treadmills until they collapse."

In another incident report from November 2016, a dog died in surgery when a doctor accidentally sliced the lung. According to 8News, the animal care committee tasked with reviewing the incident is calling the experiments "reckless."

Reckless, sloppy, unnecessary, and cruel, are all words used by White Coat Waste Project and others to describe what happens behind the doors at McGuire animal testing center. In a letter to the VA Inspector General, they say;

"The abuses are consistent with McGuire VAMC's disturbing track record of oversight and management failures."

That letter was released to VA leaders and congressional members on Tuesday, and Rep. Ed Royce from California released a statement saying,

"Just as the VA was held accountable for delivering sub-par care to our nation's veterans, it should answer for the possible abuse of animals and waste of taxpayer funds on haphazard research."

Closeup of a dog looking through the bars of a cage

In response to the accusations, VA officials remain steadfast that "animal research is closely monitored, with standards that exceed state and private-sector regulations." Lack of documentation, however, leaves more questions relating to the purpose of the experiments. Goodman says;

"There is virtually no information on hand to say exactly what the purpose of these experiments are."

There's no evidence showing the experiments are providing valuable medical insight despite VA claims that past research has lead to valuable information about a variety of illnesses. But as White Coat Waste Project points out, the issue of possible results is moot, because the VA has failed to comply with federal reporting standards. They state that in 2014, McGuire reported using 31 dogs for testing. In 2015, there were 22 dogs. But in 2016, despite pointing out possible animal handling violations to other agencies, they didn't report any.

White Coat Waste Project is demanding answers and has asked the federal government to investigate their claims.

Watch the news report below:

What do you think of these animal abuse accusations? Let us know in the comments.

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VA Hospital Faces Animal Abuse Accusations After Dogs Die During Animal Testing