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Documents Contradict VA Claims Dogs Were Adopted Instead of Killed for Experiments

Documents Contradict VA Claims Dogs Were Adopted Instead of Killed for Experiments
(Nikki Fox/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 September 2017 01:20 PM

A Veterans Affairs medical center in Cleveland appears to have downplayed the number of dogs killed in medical research experiments earlier this year by claiming they were all adopted to families when some were in fact killed, the facility's internal documents reveal, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

Internal VA documents obtained by the taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste (WCW) Project via a Freedom of Information Act request apparently contradict several parts of a statement the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center made to the Free Beacon in April, particularly that five dogs purchased for an experiment were inappropriate for the study and were given to local families.

The documents showed, however, that three of the dogs were in fact killed a month before the Free Beacon asked about them.

In addition, the VA had said that records did not exist when in fact they did.

A spokeswoman said the VA purchases groups of dogs regularly, and "There was a misunderstanding on my part with regard to the specific group of dogs your outlet asked about. At the time of the request, two of the five most recently purchased dogs had been adopted out. The other three had been used in the research project and were no longer at the facility."

The WCW pointed out that even that explanation appears to be less than telling the entire truth, because the three dogs were no longer at the facility because they died.

WCW called the entire practice of buying dogs for medical experiments a misuse of taxpayer dollars that most veterans and their families oppose.

That opposition led to the House passing a major spending bill in July that would ban most medical testing on dogs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But the Washington Examiner reported earlier this month that opposition to the ban on dog testing has been voiced since then, including by The American Legion, which is the largest wartime veterans' organization in the United States.

"We find the VA's practices to be within recommended federal and ethical standards as established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health," the group wrote in a letter to congressmen. "Based on this information, The American Legion . . . encourages the VA to continue research vital to advancing the medical well-being of our nation's veterans."

However, the Free Beacon said that a new national survey shows that 56 percent of veterans and their family members say they "support legislation to prohibit taxpayer funding of the most painful categories of dog experiments at the VA."

Twenty percent said they opposed the measure and 24 percent are undecided.

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A Veterans Affairs medical center in Cleveland appears to have downplayed the number of dogs killed in medical research experiments earlier this year by claiming they were all adopted to families when some were in fact killed, the facility's internal documents reveal, The...
documents, contradict, VA, dogs, adopted, killed, experiments
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2017-20-19
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 01:20 PM
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