Medical Records Obtained in Court Battle Reveal Dog Experiments Violate Federal Law
Michigan Judge Orders Wayne State to Provide Details of Painful Heart Experiments on Dogs; Doctors File Legal Complaint, Urge Virtual Protest
WASHINGTON—A Petition for Enforcement filed Sept. 25 by the nonprofit Physicians Committee highlights the fate of Rogue and other dogs used in painful heart failure experiments at Wayne State University. Details of the experiments came to light after a Michigan judge ordered the university to give medical records and other documents to the Physicians Committee.
“The Court advised at the hearing that Wayne State should produce the research records PCRM requested,” states the Stipulated Order of Dismissal issued this month by Judge Susan D. Borman of the Circuit Court for the County of Wayne.
“Our complaint, which is based on the dogs’ medical records, alleges at least 16 violations of federal law,” says Kenneth Litwak, D.V.M., Ph.D., a former animal researcher and associate director of laboratory medicine for the Physicians Committee. “The new president of Wayne State should immediately halt these unlawful experiments.” The doctors’ legal complaint will be filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency that enforces the Animal Welfare Act.
“A hound named Rogue had her chest and abdomen opened up to implant nine devices, one of which likely rubbed a hole in her aorta causing her to bleed into her chest,” explains Dr. Litwak. “She was forced to exercise on a treadmill just four days after one of her surgeries. Rogue’s short life in the laboratory failed to provide any data that would lead to treatments for human patients.”
A hard-hitting ad showing a dog similar to Rogue will appear in the student newspaper, The South End, on Sept. 25. “It’s too late for Rogue,” the ad says. “But you can help save other dogs.” Readers are directed to tweet photos of their dogs to protest the experiments and ask that federal funding be halted. The #PleaseDrCollins tweets will go to the head of the National Institutes of Health, @NIHdirector, the agency that has been funding the dog experiments for more than 20 years. At least one government-funded experimenter at Wayne State currently has approval to use and then kill 22 dogs per year.
Epidemiological studies, such as the Framingham Study and Methodist Study, continue to give researchers insight into the causes of heart failure, while human clinical trials provide treatment and prevention options. The National Institutes of Health should fund only human-relevant research.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.