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 and medical training.
NEWS RELEASE June 17, 2016
Cinema Ads Confront Wayne State Over Experiments on Dog Named Dorrie
Doctors Target June 17 Release of Animated Film “Finding Dory”
DETROIT—Hard-hitting advertisements will confront Wayne State University over the fate of a dog named Dorrie who died in a Wayne State laboratory after being used for hypertension experiments. Starting June 17, and running through August 11, a 15-second still ad will appear before each movie on all 10 screens of the Bel Air 10 Cinema in Detroit. The ad featuring Dorrie the dog is timed to reach fans of the animated film “Finding Dory” which premieres June 17.
The advertisement urges moviegoers to protest the experiments that claimed the life of Dorrie and many other dogs. A hashtag used to promote “Finding Dory” is also used in the Dorrie ad. “Dorrie disappeared. #HaveYouSeenHer? Find Dorrie’s story at EndDogExperiments.org,” the new ad states.
“It’s too late for Dorrie the dog, but “Finding Dory” fans can help save other dogs by visiting EndDogExperiments.org and signing the petition to Wayne State University,” says John J. Pippin, M.D., director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee. “Finding cures for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension means using advanced, human-relevant research methods including studies of human populations. Dogs like Dorrie are very poor models for hypertension and other heart diseases in people due to the many differences in anatomy and physiology.”
The Physicians Committee, a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors, obtained Dorrie’s medical records from Wayne State through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. The records reveal that Dorrie was likely a former family pet who experienced three painful surgeries to implant 11 devices into her heart and blood vessels. She experienced many complications from her surgeries and was not given pain medication. She was forced to exercise numerous times on a treadmill despite her pain and illness. Initially described as “Happy, affectionate” Dorrie suffered appetite loss, fever, lethargy, and other signs of pain and illness during her seven months in Wayne State’s laboratory. Because of her ongoing suffering, Dorrie was killed.
An in-depth analysis of the scientific literature by Dr. Pippin and his team found that the experiments on dogs at Wayne State have not resulted in any treatments or cures for people with cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart failure. A leading research institution, the Texas Heart Institute, stopped using dogs for research in 2012.
Numerous other dogs have shared Dorrie’s fate in taxpayer-funded experiments. Her medical records are among the 67 sets of medical records obtained from Wayne State by the Physicians Committee since summer of 2011. Other documents show that Dr. Donal O’Leary has requested funding for additional hypertension experiments that use approximately 16 dogs per year over a four-year period. The new grant proposal describes experiments similar to others conducted by Dr. O’Leary since his arrival at Wayne State in 1990. Based on Dr. O’Leary’s quarter century track record, there is no reason to expect that his ongoing experiments will contribute to the treatment or cure of hypertension.