WRIC: VA orders more dogs for research days after Congress cuts funding for experiments

Aug 9, 2018
In The News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs may be trying to get around Congress efforts to defund its deadly dog experiments.

On March 23, President Trump signed the Omnibus Bill which, in part, cut funding for the VA's painful dog testing like the deadly canine experiments at McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond.

8News has learned, however, that just a few days later on April 5, the VA ordered more dogs with taxpayer money.

Invoices show dozens of hounds were ordered by the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland to be used in medical research. Some of the dogs are pre-ordered and not scheduled to be delivered until the spring of 2019.

The invoices shared with 8News are the result of a Freedom of Information Act request made by White Coat Waste Project, a watchdog group, that has been dedicated to shining light on taxpayer-funded animal research.

"This is an issue of taxpayers being forced to foot the bill for something they find objectionable,” says Justin Goodman.

Troubled by the invoices, today Virginia Congressman Dave Brat and Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus emailed a letter to the new VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

"The Cleveland VA Medical Center spent $42,721 to pre-order seven shipments of hounds to be used in research with delivery dates extending from June 2018 well into FY19," the letter reads.

The Congress members add they're, "concerned these purchases may be prohibited" and "appear to be an attempt to circumvent anticipated FY19 funding restrictions on dog testing."

8News reached out to the VA for comment. We asked if the VA was trying to bypass the new law by pre-ordering dogs, if McGuire here in Richmond placed any new orders for dogs since the bill to cut funding was passed and how many dogs are currently at the McGuire facility. 

"VA appreciates the lawmakers' views and will respond to them directly," was the response we were given.

Justin Goodman, the Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy for the White Coat Waste Project shared a comment about the VA's response with 8News:

"The VA’s staggering lack of transparency and accountability about its compliance with bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Trump to curtail wasteful dog experimentation is unacceptable and must change under new Secretary Robert Wilkie," Goodman said.