A recent online video revealed a 30-year-long project in which a National Institute of Health (NIH) taxpayer-funded research team specifically breeds dogs to have Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at Texas A&M University. These debilitated dogs are subjected to a series of tests in which motorized machines stretches their muscles to the point of tear. In the video, dogs are confined to cold metal cages without a bed or even a blanket. They struggle to stand and eat solid food. The lead veterinarian defended his project with a nonsensical response: “I’m a dog lover, I’m a veterinarian, I’ve had dogs all my life. So every time we have a research project we want to be as sure as we can that the research will be valuable because the dogs are valuable. Not financially valuable, but valuable as individuals.”
We all know how debilitating muscular dystrophy can be and as much as we support a cure, research using dogs is not the answer. Thirty-plus years of torture, and millions of taxpayer dollars later, the team has little to justify their efforts. They have not produced a cure nor an effective DMD treatment.
Animal tests are are not valuable because they are not reliable. Over ninety-percent of treatments that pass in animal tests fail in human trials. That is because we are a different species. A substance can be tolerable by one animal but fatal in another. The U.S. government spends 16 billon dollars annually on animal testing, a large portion of which is through the NIH, which has set aside 40% of it's budget for animal experimentation.
The latest budget proposal is calling for a 20% cut to the NIH budget. This cut should include eliminating unnecessary experiments on innocent animals. Now is the time! Contact your representatives and tell them that you do not support the NIH nor tax-payer funded animal experimentation that torture animals and produce no beneficial results!
In today’s scientifically advanced society, there is no need for this cruelty. Congress: Its time to defund these wasteful experiments. Texas A&M: Please end the exploitation of man’s best friend to avoid further damage to the reputation of your entire institution.
Photo credit: PETA