The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Inspector General announced it will review the agency’s experiments on dogs. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, including a Florida Republican, have been pushing to end the experiments.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who helped write the bill defunding the tests, was glad to see the review begin.
“We need to get to the bottom of how these harmful experiments on dogs have continued after we passed a law explicitly defunding them,” Mast said on Wednesday. “After suffering injuries on the battlefield myself, I am definitely aware of the vital role dogs play in helping troops recover from war’s physical and psychological tolls. These tests are abusive, unnecessary and a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.”
“The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 that was signed into law on March 23, 2018, included language co-written by Rep. Mast defunding and restricting dog testing at the VA. Section 254 of the law makes clear that the Secretary of the VA must approve the use of such testing, stating in part, ‘None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to conduct research using canines unless…the study has been directly approved by the Secretary,’” the congressman’s office noted. “Documents released via the Freedom of Information Act show that on March 28, 2018, less than a week after the enactment of the new omnibus restrictions, the Cleveland VA Medical Center initiated a $42,721 pre-order for seven shipments of canines to be used in research with delivery dates extending from June 2018 well into FY19.”
Mast and other members of Congress wrote the VA on the matter back in August.
In September, VA Sec. Robert Wilkie noted there were almost 10 experiments continuing which former VA Sec. David Shulkin approved before President Donald Trump fired him in March.