WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Brian Mast (FL-18) and Dina Titus (NV-01) today introduced the Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species (PUPPERS) Act. This bipartisan legislation will put an end to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ practice of performing painful and distressing experiments on dogs, including drilling into dogs’ skulls, inducing heart attacks, and collapsing their lungs.
“While I was recovering from my injuries, I saw firsthand the important role that dogs play in helping veterans recover from war’s physical and psychological tolls,” Rep. Mast said. “For too long, the VA has gotten away with conducting these harmful—sometimes fatal—experiments on dogs. These tests are abusive, waste taxpayer dollars and must be stopped.”
Specifically, the bill prohibits the Department of Veterans Affairs from purchasing, breeding, transporting, housing, feeding, maintaining, disposing of or experimenting on dogs as part of the conduct of any study that causes significant pain or distress.
“It’s time to end dog testing at the VA once and for all,” Rep. Titus said. “There are proven alternatives to this unnecessary testing that inflicts severe pain on puppies and dogs while producing no discernible medical advances. I’m grateful for the support of Congressman Mast and the many animal welfare and veterans’ organizations that are helping advance this legislation to put an end to this barbaric practice.”
The PUPPERS Act has a broad coalition of support from organizations including AMVETS, Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Humane Association, and the White Coat Waste Project.
“The PUPPERS Act is more than a measure that would end the senseless abuse of canines in VA research labs,” American Veterans Chief Advocacy Officer Sherman Gillums Jr. said. “It would also put an end to the empty promises that veterans with chronic and serious medical conditions, like heart disease, cancer, and spinal cord injury, have relied on for far too long. At some point, scientific research needs to deliver results that make it worth the costs. In the case of VA canine research, there were no real results for decades. Therefore, there should be no more costs — especially when they involve inflicting pain on the same animals that families keep as pets and police officers rely on to find bombs and drugs. Most importantly to me, combat-wounded veterans use these same animals to replace lost function and cope with invisible injuries. The PUPPERS Act embodies the conscience of our society, and it’s time to let conscience guide our actions by passing this important bill.”
“Americans overwhelmingly oppose the VA’s wasteful and cruel dog experiments, and we applaud Rep. Dina Titus and wounded warrior Rep. Brian Mast for re-introducing the bipartisan PUPPERS Act and continuing their outstanding leadership to end this taxpayer-funded canine cruelty,” White Coat Waste Project Public Policy Manager Noelle Callahan said.