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November 20, 2013

Undercover Investigation Reveals Dogs Suffering in Dental Experimentation

 

WASHINGTON (Nov. 20, 2013) — Undercover footage from a three-month-long investigation at Georgia Regents University reveals the suffering and death of dogs used in dental implant experiments. The Humane Society of the United States investigation confirms the university obtains dogs from a random-source Class B animal dealer who has been formally charged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Ask the USDA to crack down on Class B dealers with ongoing animal welfare violations »

Documents received from GRU indicate deadly dental implant experiments have been done at the university in part to compare a dental implant invented by researchers at GRU (in conjunction with a private company) with that of a competitor, which is unnecessary and not required by law. Actress Kim Basinger joins The HSUS in calling for change at the institution, and narrated a new video on the investigation (above).

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said, "Dogs don't need to die for frivolous dental experiments. It's painful to watch these forlorn dogs sacrificed for these questionable purposes. And the situation is compounded by the university's relationship with an unscrupulous animal dealer." (Read his blog on this investigation.)

The HSUS investigator witnessed dogs undergoing painful experiments where their teeth were pulled out and replaced with dental implants. Once the experiments were over, the dogs were euthanized for a small sample of their jaw bone. GRU has been conducting dental implant research on random-source Class B dogs for years.

Random-source Class B Dealers—only six of whom are active in the U.S.—are permitted to gather dogs and cats from various sources, including auctions, "free to good home" ads, online sources, flea markets, and even animal control and some shelter facilities. They then resell the dogs to research facilities. There have been cases of stolen pets ending up in research laboratories due to these B dealers.  

James P. Jensvold, DDS, said, "In the two studies I reviewed, human research subjects could have been used, given that the products were already approved by the Food and Drug Administration and bone biopsies are commonly done in human studies. Animals used in research are often "sacrificed" at the end of the study, and this is accepted as standard practice without taking into consideration the unnecessary emotional and physical suffering that the animals must endure. As a dental student and oral and maxillofacial surgery resident, I witnessed laboratory animals being treated as little different than a test tube, which is inconsistent with the values of compassionate healthcare." (Read another dentist's statement.)

The HSUS investigator also documented the following problems with animal care and compliance with federal law:

  • Failure to provide appropriate and necessary veterinary treatment to sick and injured animals
  • Use of an underweight dog in dental implant surgeries
  • Failure to provide proper enrichment to primates who exhibited severe stereotypic behaviors, including self-injury
  • Failure to provide necessary euthanasia to severely injured rodents

The HSUS has filed legal complaints with the USDA and the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, calling on the agencies to investigate these issues and others documented during the investigation.

In an HSUS video narrated by Basinger she states: "[Dogs] were used for unnecessary dental experiments, and killed for just a little sample of their jaw bone. I urge the public to join me in protecting dogs like 'Shy Guy' and to help animals at Georgia Regents University."

Facts

  • GRU reported using dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, monkeys, and pigs to the USDA in 2012. Mice and rats are also used at the facility, but the total number is unknown.
  • The random-source Class B dealer supplying dogs to GRU is Kenneth Schroeder, operating out of Wells, Minn., since 1960. There are five other random-source Class B licensees in the U.S. selling dogs and cats to research facilities. Two are currently under investigation by the USDA.
  • On Sept. 19, the USDA filed a legal complaint against Kenneth Schroeder for multiple and serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including obtaining dogs from unauthorized sources.
  • As of Nov. 1, GRU was carrying out grants totaling approximately $50 million in federal funding from the NIH for projects involving the use of animals.
  • The National Academy of Sciences studied the issue of random-source Class B dealers as a source of dogs and cats for research in 2009 and concluded they are unnecessary.
  • In 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found random-source Class B dealers are not adequately regulated, including in regard to determining where the animals came from.
  • The NIH announced they will no longer fund research using Class B cats as of October 2012 and random-source Class B dogs no later than 2015. Research with private funding using random-source Class B dogs and cats is legal.
  • 65,000 dogs per year are used for research, testing, and education in the U.S.

Help protect other dogs from this fate

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Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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