RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prohibit state funds for medical research that harms dogs or cats.
“I think most Virginian’s would tell you that they don’t want their taxpayer dollars going to fund the maximum pain experiments,” said Virginia state Senator Glen Sturtevant.
The legislation introduced by Senator Glen Sturtevant and Senator Bill Stanley bans state taxpayer money for any public or private scientific research that causes significant pain to a dog or cat.
“A lot of people are just totally unaware of that some areas of the medical community are performing these maximum pain experiments on dogs and sometimes on puppies as young as six months,” Sturtevant said.
The Republican lawmakers say they introduced the legislation after 8News exposed Virginia was partly providing the financial support for the deadly dog research at McGuire medical center.
“We have heard from your reporting of botched surgeries that a resulted in the deaths of dogs,” Sturtevant said.
VA research records show the experiments in Richmond have involved at least 39 dogs being surgically implanted with pacemakers and forced to run on treadmills until some have a heart attack. It is part of a study on cardiovascular disease.
All of the dogs involved are eventually euthanized. McGuire whistleblowers called it animal abuse.
“You can tell they are like scared of you. Very nervous, distraught, uncomfortable,” Todd Woessner, who works at McGuire said.
The VA says dogs are only used in research when rodents can’t provide the information needed.
And the VA tells us the research has the support of major veteran’s groups like the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the American Legion “because it creates the potential for life-changing medical breakthroughs for seriously disabled Veterans.”
“I think it is important for a lot of people to understand there is nothing wrong with these dogs before they start these experiments,” Sturtevant said.
The lawmakers also plan to take this one step further and introduce legislation that would ban any sort of testing that harms dogs and cats in Virginia, no matter who funds it.
In Washington D.C., House lawmakers previously voted to defund dog experiments at the VA. The Senate still has to vote on the legislation.