The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has approved the continuation of dog testing, which it says will help doctors find new ways to treat wounded soldiers, according to USA Today. A spokesman for the department told USA Today that the former VA secretary David Shulkin signed off on continuing the experiments.
The testing is being done in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Richmond, Virginia. Scientists are removing sections of dogs’ brains to test neurons that control breathing. In addition, electrodes are being used on the dogs’ spinal cords to measure cough reflexes before and after severing the cords. They also implant pacemakers, then induce abnormal heart rhythms by running the animals on treadmills to test cardiac function. After these tests, the dogs are euthanized by injection or by the draining of their blood.
The actual dogs (nearly 75,000 yearly) are mostly bred to be experimented on. The most popular pup? Beagles. This is due to their loving and trusting nature, the same factors that make them great family pets. The living conditions are terrible for the dogs, some of which have never seen the light of day.
“Thousands of dogs are held in cages, usually 1-2 to a cage and stacked on top of one another, that are about twice the length of the dog’s body. We found no facilities for the dogs to step outside or exercise. Dogs are routinely so desperate to escape that they slam themselves against the cage walls, desperately stretch their paws through the bars, and sometimes chew on the cages. The screams of the dogs in the facility are so loud that we were forced to yell at one another to communicate, even when we were only a foot away from one another,” said Wayne Hsiung, an investigator of the industry.
A few groups are against these experiments. They include the following: Paralysed Veterans of America, White Coat Waste Project, the RVA Animal Advocacy Alliance and the Humane Society. They are actively trying to end the experiments.