Veterans Groups Join Titus Effort to Limit VA Dog Testing

Feb 13, 2018
Press Release

October 8, 2017 (Updated February 21, 2018)

Washington, D.C. -- Prominent veterans’ advocacy organizations are backing Rep. Dina Titus (NV-1) and her bipartisan effort to curtail the Department of Veterans Affairs’ unnecessary and inhumane medical experiments on dogs. The supportive Veterans Service Organizations include VetsFirst, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), Military-Veterans Advocacy (MVA), the American Military Retirees Association (AMRA), American G.I. Forum of the U.S., Jewish War Veterans of the USA, United States Army Warrant Officers Association, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans for Peace, Wounded Paw Project, and DisabledVeterans.org. 

“Our nation’s veterans deserve better than having the VA spend taxpayers’ money on cruel and ineffective experiments on dogs when there are other proven treatment methods available,” said Rep. Titus. “I’m honored that the American Military Retirees Association, The Retired Enlisted Association, Military-Veterans Advocacy, and VetsFirst have joined the many other veterans supporting my bipartisan work to stop needless dog testing at the VA.”

“We are concerned by the apparent lack of evidence that the VA’s past and ongoing canine research—particularly projects involving causing dogs pain and distress, some of which is not relieved—has led to effective and accessible treatments or cures for veteran-specific illnesses,” wrote VetsFirst in a letter endorsed by the American Military Retirees Association, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, The Retired Enlisted Association, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, and the United States Army Warrant Officers Association. “As such, we support your efforts to eliminate unnecessary VA canine research that is not serving the specific needs of all veterans so that these resources can be more appropriately allocated.”

“The VA’s unconscionable and unnecessary dog research squanders resources needed to provide veterans with the healthcare and disability benefits they’ve earned,” said Gulf War and Somalia veteran Anthony Hardie, Director and National Board Chair of Veterans for Common Sense.

“We are writing to express our support for your work to curtail wasteful and unnecessary dog experimentation at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” wrote Military-Veterans Advocacy in a letter to Rep. Titus. “[T]he VA is expending significant time, money, staff, research space, and other resources to conduct and defend questionable dog experimentation that is opposed by most veterans, ineffective and has little to do with service-related disabilities. VA’s dog experimentation does not align with current veterans’ health priorities or VA’s legislative mandate to focus its research on service-related illnesses and injuries.”

“VA has failed to name a single veteran-focused medical advancement that has ever resulted from dog testing in nearly 100 years of VA research,” said veterans advocate, DisabledVeterans.org founder, and Air Force veteran Benjamin Krause. “Spending taxpayers’ money on unproductive programs like this is inexcusable when so many veterans are still fighting with VA to obtain the basic medical care and health benefits that they deserve.”

“Dogs are faithful companions who save veteran's lives daily - like mine.  Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money to abuse and torture these animals in outdated experiments, the VA should partner with the private sector to conduct advanced non-animal research, and adopt out these dogs to wounded warriors who can benefit from their physical and emotional support with the aid of organizations like ours,” said Ernesto P. Hernandez III, Air Force veteran, Purple Heart recipient and CEO of Wounded Paw Project.

Congresswoman Titus and Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) have introduced the bipartisan PUPPERS Act (HR 3197)—which is cosponsored by numerous veterans in Congress—that aims to end the two most painful categories of dog experiments at the VA, including experiments in which pain relief is withheld for dogs. The bill allows non-painful canine research and any research related to service and working dogs. In July, the House unanimously passed a bipartisan amendment cosponsored by Congresswoman Titus to cut funding for the VA’s painful dog experiments in FY18.

Supporting Veterans Organizations: (Updated February 21, 2018)

VetsFirst (a program of United Spinal Association)

The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA)

American G.I. Forum of the U.S.

American Military Retirees Association (AMRA)

Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS)

Military-Veterans Advocacy (MVA)

Jewish War Veterans of the USA

United States Army Warrant Officers Association

Veterans for Common Sense

Veterans for Peace

DisabledVeterans.org

Wounded Paw Project