NAVS has long advocated that dogs do not make good models for humans and that there is no reason to continue subjecting mans’ best friend to unnecessary pain and experimentation. For that reason, we are encouraged by recent news out of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM).
NASEM announced last month that they will be conducting a study to determine the necessity—if any—of using dogs in research within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
This study was prompted because of recent investigations at VA facilities around the country that have revealed cruel and wasteful experiments on dogs. Legislation has recently been passed which restricts VA dog testing through fiscal year 2019.
As part of the ILAR study, a committee appointed by NASEM has been tasked with:
1) Determining if dog experiments are or will continue to be necessary for research related to the VA’s mission. If dogs are found to be scientifically necessary for VA studies, then the biological reasons for this necessity will be described, and anticipated future alternatives to their use will be discussed;
2) Identifying ethical standards and practices supporting the use, care and welfare of dogs used in research, and;
3) Reviewing current VA practices to determine if they meet new recommendations or whether they need to be changed.
We are pleased that this opportunity to evaluate dog use at the VA has arisen, and we are cautiously optimistic that a thorough evaluation of the use of dogs by the VA will have a similar outcome as the Institute of Medicine chimpanzee study several years ago. That study, which assessed the necessity of chimpanzee use in biomedical and behavioral research, ultimately played a large role in the National Institutes of Health’s eventual cessation of invasive biomedical experimentation on chimpanzees.
We will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this meeting, as well as inform you of any conclusions or recommendations that are made as a result of this evaluation