CLEVELAND– The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is defending its practice of testing on dogs at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.
A Change.org petition, with more than a million signatures, claimed the hospital recently received three puppies. According to the petition, the puppies, some as young as 9 months old, will be killed as part of experiments on their spinal cords.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said the canine research helped it develop a device to allow paralyzed patients to breathe without ventilators, cough on their own and speak with a stronger voice. According to the VA, this advancement would not be possible without the canine research.
“VA will continue conducting canine research, as it is absolutely necessary to better treat life-threatening health conditions in our veterans,” said VA Chief Veterinary Medical Officer Dr. Michael Fallon in a statement on Friday.
The department also referenced 30 other VA canine studies.
Last year, the Cleveland Animal Protective League called for an end to animal testing at the Cleveland VA and urged support for a bill that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from experimenting on dogs.
A group plans to protest the experimentation outside the Cleveland Va from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday.