Dog experiments to continue at Milwaukee VA medical center

NOW: Dog experiments to continue at Milwaukee VA medical center

The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue medical testing on canines, according to a report by USA Today.

Some of the dog experiments are done at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. 

The VA does animal research to improve medical care, according to its website. More than 99-percent of the animals used are rats and mice, but aren't always useful because of their small size.

Gary Kunich, spokesman with the Milwaukee VA said, "it creates the potential for life-changing medical breakthroughs for seriously disabled Veterans. The Milwaukee VA Medical Center does limited research using canines aimed at understanding and treating brain circuits that control breathing," in a statement.

According to the report, the procedures are invasive and fatal. Researchers at the Milwaukee VA reportedly remove sections of dogs' brain for testing, then are killed by lethal injections. 

Some veterans don't support the controversial research. "I'm against that type of thing," Joey Mascari said.

However, other veterans said it's necessary.

"I guess what else are they gonna use?" questioned Warren Olsen. "They could use mice, any kind of animal. Sometimes it is inhumane, but it'd be more inhumane on a person."

Veteran Richard Salecki also supported the experiments. "If they're making positive outcomes in these experiments, then honestly, why not."

The statement by the Milwaukee VA continued, "this research is done humanely and follows all federal and state regulations with oversight and accreditation from outside agencies. Because of VA research like this, some of our most critically injured Veterans have the hope of a better future."

Zablocki is one of a few VA medical centers in the country that does canine research. The program has the support of some veterans groups, including the American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans. 

Despite this, the advocacy group White Coat Waste Project, based in Washington D.C., has been working to stop the experiments.

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