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It’s Time to End Dog Experiments in Michigan

For decades, publicly funded institutions in Michigan have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on experiments in which dogs are subjected to painful procedures and killed. It is time for legislators in Lansing to take action and ensure that public resources are spent responsibly. Senate Bill 582 would do this.

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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.
  • he 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.

In Detroit, Dogs Are Used in Painful Experiments

Through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, the Physicians Committee has obtained veterinary records for hundreds of dogs used and killed in heart failure and hypertension experiments at a Detroit laboratory. Employees of the lab perform multiple invasive surgeries and implant medical devices in the dogs’ bodies before forcing them to run on treadmills while artificially elevating the animals’ heart rates using surgically implanted wires. The dogs are literally being run to death.