Bill aims to end painful experiments on dogs at Michigan public institutions



Michigan universities and public institutions would be prohibited from conducting painful or distressing experiments on dogs under a new bill in the state House.

More than 700 dogs have been subjected to invasive experiments between 2015 and 2018 at public institutions in the state, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

State Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, introduced the bill this week because she said the experiments are “cruel” and “medically unnecessary.”

“I’m sponsoring this legislation, because for me and so many Michiganders, dogs are important members of our families and they deserve better,” Cambensy said in a news release. “Not only are these experiments cruel, they are medically unnecessary. We have human, cell and computer-based research methods that render these types of experiments on dogs pointless and gratuitous. We know that our communities overwhelmingly oppose this practice and so we should not allow taxpayer dollars to fund invasive experiments that do nothing to help patients.”

Most of the research is conducted at Wayne State University, where dogs undergo surgeries as part of an ongoing study on human heart failure and hypertension.

In a letter to state lawmakers on Oct. 10, 225 Michigan physicians signed a letter endorsing the bill.

“During some of the experiments at Wayne State, dogs undergo multiple surgeries in which devices, cables, and wires are implanted in their bodies," the letter states. "The dogs are then forced to run on treadmills before they are killed. As many as one out of every four dogs dies during or after surgery — before the experiments are completed — because procedures are so invasive and dangerous. All of the dogs who make it through experiments are later killed."

In 2013, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine alleged in a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the university was subjecting dogs to excessive surgeries with poor oversight in violation of 16 federal laws.

Wayne State University officials "are currently reviewing the proposed legislation to gain a better understanding of [the bill's] intent and impact,"  WSU spokesman Matt Lockwood tells Metro Times.

"We are generally opposed to any legislation that would impede or stop such vital research," Lookwood says.

In early 2019, a Lincoln Park Strategies poll of 1,000 registered Michigan voters found that 70% oppose using dogs “in experiments that could cause them pain.”

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