Employees at Wayne State University subject dogs to painful, deadly experiments.
This has been going on since 1991 without contributing to any improvements in human health. During that time, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has given more than $15 million to the lead experimenter. These heart failure experiments involve surgically implanting devices, catheters, wires, and cables into the bodies of otherwise healthy dogs. Every dog who survives the initial surgeries will die during the experiment, in which an implanted device triggers the animals’ hearts to beat at 2-3 times the normal rate while they run on treadmills. This is by design: Wayne State experimenters use each dog until his or her body gives out or a device breaks or malfunctions. They are literally running dogs to death.
Pending Legislation Would Prohibit Painful Experiments
In 2021, Sen. Paul Wojno introduced Senate Bill 582 in the Michigan Legislature. The bill would prohibit publicly funded institutions from conducting potentially painful experiments on dogs.
Dog Experiments Don’t Improve Human Health
The ongoing dog studies will never advance human medicine or provide cardiologists with new ways of treating heart disease. More reliable information is obtained from studies involving humans. Spending limited research funds on dog experiments distracts from the real, human-centered approaches to studying heart disease. Epidemiological studies continue to give researchers insight into the causes of heart failure, while human clinical trials provide treatment and prevention options. But these effective research methods need more attention—and more funding.
Nonanimal Research Is Providing Human-Relevant Results
- Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a functioning human heart model. This kind of model can show the early stages of disease progression in humans in ways animal models cannot.
- The Framingham Heart Study, which has included thousands of people across the country and resulted in several major medical findings since it began in 1948.
- The Houston Methodist Studies, where researchers have worked with patients and employed stem cells to investigate interventions to treat heart failure and reduce patient risk.
- The work of Michael Joyner, MD, at the Mayo Clinic where he has performed studies in humans similar to those conducted in dogs in Michigan.
- The work of Igor Efimov, PhD, at the George Washington University, where he has established connections with local institutions that supply his lab with human hearts. The hearts are either diseased ones removed from patients undergoing heart transplants or have been donated for research but are considered unsuitable for transplantation.
- The Texas Heart Institute, which is dedicated solely to addressing cardiovascular disease and stopped using dogs in studies altogether in 2015.