"Most Californians, who have seen their taxes increase while public services deteriorate, already know the impact that mass illegal immigration is having on their communities, but even they may be shocked when they learn just how much of a drain illegal immigration has become." FAIR President Dan Stein
Thursday, April 12, 2018
THE VETERAN'S ADMINISTRATION'S TORTURE OF DOGS.... IT NEEDS TO STOP - The VA apparently is the only government agency using dogs in this kind of extremely painful research where pain relief is withheld.
aving spent nearly two decades in Congress, I am known for my reputation as a staunch social and fiscal conservative, defense hawk, and veterans’ advocate. However, one of the accomplishments I’m most proud of is my work to reform abusive and wasteful government animal research. And I’m pleased that my colleagues on the Hill are still fighting the good fight.
In 2000, Congress enacted my Senate legislation to create a sanctuary system for chimps no longer needed in taxpayer-funded biomedical research because their use was on the decline for ethical, scientific, and economic reasons. We were ahead of our time. The National Institutes of Health has since confirmed that chimp research is unnecessary and cut all federal funding for it.
My work on these issues even dates back to my tenure in the House. In 1986, I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to restrict the use of dogs in taxpayer-funded testing and later introduced similar bills in the Senate. Regrettably, that legislation never made it to the president’s desk, but congressional Republicans are now on the cusp of a decades-overdue breakthrough to cut what seems to me to be the worst of the government’s dog research.
Last July, the House of Representatives unanimously passed bipartisan legislation — led by Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat, R-Va., and co-sponsored by several veterans in Congress, including wounded warrior Brian Mast, R-Fla., and Ted Poe, R-Tex. — to cut federal funding for painful research on dogs at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.
As one of my former Senate colleagues recently alerted me, the VA has been using taxpayers’ money to buy beagles and other hound puppies, give them heart attacks, drill into their skulls, addict them to methamphetamine, and collapse their lungs in deadly experiments. The VA apparently is the only government agency using dogs in this kind of extremely painful research where pain relief is withheld.
The VA hasn’t produced any evidence these resource-intensive experiments are helping veterans, and many national veterans’ service organizations have criticized the VA for defending the projects and continuing to fund them when there are so many vital veterans’ programs that are underfunded and otherwise neglected.
Ending this archaic research doesn’t place the needs of dogs above veterans. Quite the opposite. Its about putting the needs of veterans over entrenched government bureaucrats wasting money on needless research that hurts dogs. I say this as a Navy combat veteran who introduced or co-sponsored more than 80 veteran-related bills in Congress and recently served as co-chair of the Veterans Coalition supporting Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for president.
Much like chimp research, the end of taxpayer funding of unnecessary and cruel VA dog research is an idea whose time has come. I urge my friend Cruz and his colleagues in the upper chamber to pass this legislation for the benefit of veterans, taxpayers, and dogs without further delay.
With the recent change in leadership at the VA, maybe these programs will be terminated anyway. But it is important for Congress to act to make sure that legislation is passed to permanently end this so-called research.
Robert C. “Bob” Smith was a Republican senator from New Hampshire from 1990-2002 .
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