Congressman urges investigation into VA dog experiments

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Republican congressman is calling for an investigation into what he calls “disturbing” reports of medical experiments on dogs at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

8News exposed botched animal surgeries and deaths at McGuire VA Medical Center last week.

Now, 8News has obtained a copy of a letter signed by Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan, who co-chairs the caucus for animal protection.

Buchanan wants the VA’s Inspector General to investigate whether animals are being harmed unnecessarily and whether taxpayer dollars are being misused.

Buchanan writes that he was concerned about the press reports regarding experiments, which included everything from inducing heart attacks on dogs to surgeries that left the animals maimed or dead.

Animal reports shared with 8News exposed dogs going into cardiac arrest while others were given accidental overdoses and surgical mistakes that left otherwise healthy dogs dead.

There is no federal database detailing these research projects or their results, which also concerns the Congressman.

“I am concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding these experiments,” Buchanan said. “Anything done with taxpayer dollars should be done with full disclosure to the public.”

The VA’s Inspector General Michael Missal has been questioned about opening an investigation into the experiments and has said his office is in the process of reviewing it.

The VA tells 8News that it’s research has been life-changing and life-saving for humans.

Providing the best care and services to the nation’s Veterans is paramount to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA’s research and innovations have resulted in products that are both life-changing and lifesaving. From the implantable cardiac pacemaker to the nicotine patch to electronic health records, the innovations that happen as a result of VA research have far-reaching and lasting impact that doesn’t just touch the lives of Veterans who serve our nation, but all Americans.

VA animal research is strictly controlled and monitored with accountability mechanisms in place that comply with the same regulations and standards that university programs, state, private, military or civilian organizations employ.  As part of that commitment, VA takes seriously any reports of not adhering to standards and will immediately review and correct processes if and when those issues arise.

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