House votes to ban VA medical tests on dogs

Sep 22, 2017
In The News

The House voted Wednesday to ban all Department of Veterans Affairs medical testing that causes pain to dogs, language that is now part of a multi-agency funding bill.

By voice vote, lawmakers approved an amendment that would prevent the VA from spending any money on those tests. The bipartisan proposal was offered by Reps. Dave Brat, R-Va., and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.

"My amendment combines three bipartisan issues — puppies, veterans, and government accountability," Brat said on the House floor.

Lawmakers will now vote on the dog testing ban as part of the chamber's "minibus," a bundle of four national security appropriations bills they are angling to pass before the August recess.

Brat and Titus began working on legislation this year after reports of experimentation on dogs at the McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va., where he said the animals were given amphetamines and experienced induced heart attacks.

"From what I read, the type of work that they were doing was on the level of torture," Brat said.

Titus said the VA should not be using taxpayer money to fund the painful and unnecessary experimental procedures when technological advances offer other options to live animal testing.

"In our culture, [dogs] are considered cherished pets, and they are a member of the family; they are not to be used for experiments," Titus said. "I firmly believe we should not be using taxpayer dollars to perform painful and unnecessary experimental procedures when we have technological advances that can move us toward alternative methods."