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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Controversial animal testing remains in the spotlight at Cleveland VA Medical Center, this time apparently on cats.
A recent billboard depicting a cat sitting on a toilet reading the newspaper in Cleveland caught the attention of FOX 8.
“The billboards are basically telling the VA to cut the crap and stop wasting taxpayer money on constipation experiences on cats,” said Justin Goodman of the White Coat Waste Project, an advocacy group. of taxpayer rights who paid the billboard.
Goodman encouraged anyone who noticed the notice board to learn about animal research at the Cleveland VA Medical Center.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development reports two types of cat research approved at Cleveland VA.
Documents describe how it aims to treat health issues related to the bladder and colon, including research involving electronic stimulation of the colon.
Kittens between the ages of six and 12 months have been used in a series of procedures and surgeries called electrode implantation, spinal cord severing, spinal cord injury and some cats have ultimately died in a terminal procedure according to the guidelines. files from 2015.
“When I heard that Cleveland VA was continuing animal testing and research, it was surprising,” said Sherman Gillums Jr. of AMVETS.
Gillums Jr. said he served in the United States Marine Corps for 12 years before a car crash resulted in paralysis. He is currently the chief advocate for AMVETS, a national veterans organization.
“Our official position stems from my work that unless the VA can provide more evidence that animal testing is both necessary and productive, we oppose it,” said Gillums Jr.
A VA spokesperson said, “The research on cats in Cleveland is aimed at finding better ways to manage and avoid the life-threatening complications that veterans who have suffered spinal cord injuries face.”
The Cleveland VA Medical Center spokesperson said he has supported animal research for decades and called it “absolutely necessary.”
FOX 8 reported on dog research at the facility last year. At the time, the goal of the research was to help veterans with paralysis cough by effectively reducing a potentially fatal build-up of fluids in their bodies. A goal that Vietnam veteran Bill Overton of Columbia Station supports.
“To sacrifice an animal, cat or dog that could save the life of a veteran, I totally agree,” he said. “If you can help the veterans, help these guys go through their lives and give them a little more life, I totally agree.
Cleveland Animal Care League president and CEO Sharon Harvey continues to oppose animal research at the facility.
“I knew that about a year ago there were experiments going on with dogs, but I didn’t know they were experimenting on cats as well,” she said. “I was surprised and frankly very disappointed.”
In June 2019, a spokesperson for Cleveland VA said they were conducting an active canine study even though they weren’t performing experiments at the time and said, “The VA will continue to conduct canine research, because it is absolutely necessary to better treat potentially life-threatening health conditions. with our veterans.
The Office of Research and Development of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs does not currently no list Cleveland Medical Center among those with approval for canine research, which means there is no dog research going on at the Cleveland facility.
“As a front-line advocate, I’m not here to stop the research, I’m asking the VA to justify the research,” said Gillums Jr.
Canine research in VA hospitals is the the subject of a report called the Necessity, Use and Care of Laboratory Dogs at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, conducted at the request of the VA and published this year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
The report concludes that research on laboratory dogs is “scientifically necessary for only a few areas of the current biomedical research of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).”
It includes the “development and testing of implantable devices to stimulate breathing and coughing in spinal cord injuries”. The canine research that the Cleveland VA conducted last year. The report is a review of VA canine research nationwide, not a review of any specific VA hospital.
The report also notes that “The Research Protocol Forms (CAPOR) revealed gaps in the rationale for using dogs instead of other species and for the number of dogs used … health.”
“Veterans need resources to protect them from COVID and other illnesses, and the VA is throwing money down the toilet torturing animals and it has to stop,” Goodman said.
The report goes on to indicate that “certain protocols would have benefited from the consultation of specialist veterinarians (cardiologists, anesthetists and animal behaviorists) to resolve animal welfare problems resulting from the performance of several surgeries …”
“This country needs to do everything in our power to help our veterans and recognize their service and take care of them after service and yet I don’t think we necessarily need to use animals in research to achieve that goal, ”Harvey said.
For those who have served, there is a clear difference of opinion over the type of animal research needed at the Cleveland VA for the well-being of veterans. Gillums Jr. said he had previously supported animal testing before learning more about the process.
“How are you, can you see the value of an animal on a daily basis as a pet or companion that helps you overcome a disability while still fully understanding what this research entails,” said Gillums Jr.
“I don’t think there is a comparison between a dog and a cat and a veteran,” said Overton, who was recently diagnosed with heart disease.
A spokesperson for Cleveland VA Medical Center said the White Coat Waste Project puts animal rights above the health of veterans.
In a statement, the spokesperson said, “Attempts to ban animal research in VA are rooted in emotion, ignoring the science. And if they succeed, veterans will be deprived of hope for a better future.
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