Virginia senators press VA secretary for transparency, accuracy in dog research

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia senators are urging the Department of Veteran Affairs to improve transparency and accuracy in the reporting of those fatal dog experiments at McGuire VA Medical Center.

The letter from Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner to VA Secretary David Shulkin raises concerns about a report from the VA’s Office of Research Oversight (ORO).

The report was issued last week after an April inspection of McGuire’s medical research using canines.

The Senators say, “we would like to see more done to improve transparency and accuracy of reporting about the research conducted on canines.” The letter also notes the facility’s whistleblower guidelines did not provide clear instruction on how to anonymously report concerns. The senators want that deficiency addressed.

In the letter, they also call for the swift implementation of a system to effectively track animal usage. That ORO inspection report found an under-reporting of the dogs used in the medical research projects.

The senators say they do applaud proactive steps taken by McGuire to self-correct and that they strongly support the critical research.

“We understand how critically important R & D is for fostering innovative breakthroughs in medical care, including the use of humane animal testing in cases where tests are essential to advancing public health and alternatives are unavailable.”

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