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  • Washington Highlights

    Research Groups Oppose Proposed Prohibition on VA Research with Canines

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    The AAMC Nov. 17 joined a community letter, coordinated by the National Association for Biomedical Research, to House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs in opposition to the Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species Act (PUPPERS Act, H.R. 3197) and other efforts to defund research with canines at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The letter states, “Canines have been and continue to be extremely important to scientific discovery. The cardiac pacemaker, the first liver transplant, the nicotine patch, and the discovery of insulin were all developed through research with dogs.” Providing examples, the letter shares that “Canines are currently playing a vital role in the moonshot to end cancer, aging and Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and most recently the first FDA-approved artificial pancreas was brought to fruition because of work at the VA.”

    In July, the House adopted by voice vote an amendment from Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) to the Making America Secure Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 3219) that would prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from funding medical experiments with canines, similar to the text of the PUPPERS Act.

    The AAMC Aug. 25 joined another coalition letter, organized by the Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) coalition, to House Appropriations leadership expressing concern with Rep. Brat’s proposal [See Washington Highlights, Sept. 1]. Notably, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shuklin, MD, also publicly expressed his support for research with canines in an op-ed published in USA Today.