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Richmond VA Hospital accused of using dogs for taxpayer funded medical experiments

McGuire VA Hospital (Photo: Google Maps)

RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs is now being used after being accused of hiding information about taxpayer funded dog experiments at the McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond.

WRIC, the ABC affiliate in Richmond, was the first to expose those experiments in March.

WRIC reported on Friday that the lawsuit was filed by animal rights and taxpayer watchdog White Coat Waste Project.

The lawsuit claims the VA refused to disclose the names of the lead researchers, funding sources, and dog vendors involved with those canine experiments happening at McGuire VA hospital.

WRIC claimed the information was redacted and sometimes omitted from FOIA documents.

In a statement the White Coats' Executive Director said:

“We’re suing the Department of Veterans Affairs because taxpayers have a right to know who’s paying the bills, who’s cashing the checks and who’s responsible for abusing puppies in wasteful heart attack experiments at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center.”

The documents that WRIC was able to obtain showed that McGuire research involved 118 dogs and included surgeries to implant pacemakers, stress tests, and induced heart attacks.

Most, if not all of the dogs, are set to die, according to WRIC.

A FOIA request in May asking how many dogs remained at McGuire came back empty.

Then a request on Friday by WRIC for emails, memos, letters, and contracts was denied.

The VA issued a statement to WRIC:

“We don’t typically discuss pending litigation, and won’t in this case. Generally, however, VA welcomes the Inspector General’s investigation into our animal research program and we look forward to its completion. If problems are exposed, they will be fixed and those responsible will be held accountable.
One of the most effective ways for VA to discover new treatments for diseases that affect Veterans and non-Veterans alike, is the continuation of animal research. VA’s animal research program contributes significantly to improving and saving the lives of Veterans and the long-term quality of health care for all Americans. VA animal research is strictly controlled and monitored with accountability mechanisms in place that comply with the same regulations and standards that university programs and state, private, and military organizations employ.”

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