Federal Watchdog Initiates Investigation into VA Dog Testing
WASHINGTON — The controversy surrounding the continued use of dogs in medical experiments at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities heated up again this week when the agency’s inspector general announced it would initiate an investigation into the practice.
Five House members urged the VA Inspector General in December to find how many VA studies continued to use dogs following the approval of a new law last year that sought to prevent them.
Congress passed legislation in March 2018 to prohibit the use of dogs in VA research unless the objectives of a medical study could be met only by using them. Even in that instance, the new law states the study must be directly approved by the VA secretary.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has claimed former Secretary David Shulkin approved nine ongoing studies using dogs before he was fired last year. Shulkin, though, has asserted he didn’t.
“The inconsistencies between the accounts of former Secretary Shulkin and Secretary Wilkie regarding this approval underscore the VA’s persistent lack of transparency and accountability in its use of this cruel practice,” the five lawmakers wrote to the IG in December.