Reps. Titus, Mast, Lieu, and Buchanan Respond to Inspector General’s Finding that the VA Violated Federal Law to Conduct Painful Dog Experiments

Jul 14, 2020
Press Release

July 14, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today Representatives Dina Titus (NV-1), Brian Mast (FL-18), Ted Lieu (CA-33), and Vern Buchanan (FL-16) responded to the recent report released by the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs entitled, “The Veterans Health Administration Did Not Get Secretary’s Approval Before Using Canines for Medical Research.” In December of 2018, the Members of Congress asked Inspector General Michael Missal to conduct the investigation. 

The Inspector General’s report found that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “…conducted canine research studies without obtaining required VA secretary approvals, resulting in [the] unauthorized use of appropriated funds.” The Inspector General’s report concluded that currently, “There can also be no confidence that research on canines [at the Department of Veterans Affairs] is limited to necessary studies of scientific importance that cannot be otherwise conducted for advancing human healthcare.”

“The Inspector General’s report makes it clear that the Department of Veteran Affairs misled the public while conducting cruel experiments on dogs in violation of federal law,” said Congresswoman Titus (NV-1). “This thorough investigation is exactly why we need independent Inspectors General at every federal agency, whether President Trump likes it or not. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put an end to these harmful and unnecessary dog experiments at the Department of Veterans Affairs and at any other federal agencies.”

“The Veterans Health Administration using taxpayer dollars to fund cruel, painful experiments on dogs is unacceptable on its face. Learning now that they were conducting these tests – drilling into their skulls, inducing heart attacks and collapsing their lungs – all without approval of the VA secretary is morally bankrupt,” said Congressman Mast (FL-18). “I hope these findings make it clear that we must keep up the fight to prevent these tests from happening ever again at a federal agency!”

"In 2018, Congress passed a bill limiting the VA's ability to conduct canine experiments with the expectation that the VA would find ways to conduct research without harming dogs,” said Congressman Lieu (CA-33). “I am alarmed that the VA's Inspector General has found multiple instances where the VA didn't meet our stipulations on canine testing. Unauthorized use of appropriated funds is unacceptable, and we will work to ensure VA complies with our goal of protecting our animal friends."

“The IG report is extremely troubling because it confirms the worst, that the VA has not followed congressional intent to limit unnecessary and inhuman experiments on dogs,” said Congressman Buchanan (FL-16). “Congress needs to pass legislation to permanently ban these gruesome experiments.”