Tags: veterans affairs | dogs | wilkie | healthcare

VA Dog Testing Is Cruel, Wasteful and Must Be Stopped

VA Dog Testing Is Cruel, Wasteful and Must Be Stopped
Robert Wilkie, Veterans Affairs Secretary during the hearing at Capitol Hill on December 19, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019 01:12 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced major challenges in recent years revolving around a variety of issues, the core problem being a failure to provide adequate and timely healthcare to veterans.

As the agency continues to face criticism it is imperative VA is focused on programs that aide veterans and focus its energy on improving key programs. Contrarily, VA must not defend or maintain bad programs that detract from their mission, especially in cases when veterans, President Donald Trump, and Congress agree on needed reforms.

One unproductive program that continues to be a disaster for the VA is its widely-opposed canine research program.

For years, the VA has secretively been using taxpayers’ money appropriated to help veterans to instead give puppies heart attacks by injecting latex into their arteries, drill into dogs’ skulls, and destroy their brains and otherwise torment our troops' best friend. In one ongoing project at the Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, researchers purchased “friendly” and “shy” puppies and crippled them by severing their spinal cords. In typical VA fashion, the facility tried to claim it “adopted out” these dogs, but records show clearly they really killed them.

Physicians, disabled veterans, and top veterans groups have been highly critical of this wasteful and brutal program that has failed to produce tangible benefits for veterans in decades while other important initiatives that can actually save and improve veterans’ lives go unfunded or underfunded. One key example is the vacancies currently posted for doctors at the agency that if filled could alleviate healthcare wait-times.

Thankfully, President Trump and Congress have made reforming this VA program a priority. The president has now twice signed bipartisan legislation to cut funding for this wasteful program and enact drastic restrictions on VA’s dog testing. Two of the most outspoken voices on this issue on Capitol Hill have been combat-wounded, double-amputee Army veteran Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) and Donald Trump protégé Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

Unfortunately, new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has apparently been ill-advised by deep-rooted VA bureaucrats to defend and continue this failed program that his predecessor was working to end and has openly criticized.

Secretary Wilkie is in a key leadership role possessing the opportunity to fix problems which have a real world impact on those of us that rely on VA to treat our illnesses and wounds of war. Every penny, minute, and square foot that the VA squanders on this fruitless testing hurts veterans rather than helping them. It is not effective, the program is a distraction, and President Trump, Congress, taxpayers, and veterans don't want it.

Secretary Wilkie should free himself from unneeded controversy and pivot away from supporting these painful and obsolete tests. The time has come for VA to focus on veterans and that won’t be possible as long as the agency continues to be irrationally preoccupied with perpetuating taxpayer-funded dog abuse that belongs in a horror film, not our veterans’ healthcare system.

Christopher Neiweem is the Founder of Neiweem Group, an Iraq War Veteran, and Political Strategist. He has testified in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as an expert witness numerous times in front many congressional committees. These topics range from defense, veterans, commerce, education, and military personnel. He regularly appears on Fox News Channel and other news shows as a guest commentator and has worked on several political campaigns. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced major challenges in recent years revolving around a variety of issues, the core problem being a failure to provide adequate and timely healthcare to veterans.
veterans affairs, dogs, wilkie, healthcare
582
2019-12-15
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 01:12 PM
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