By Dr. Andrew Jones
A recent story by Amy Worden of philly.com highlights the underground world of medical research performed on companion animals.
A couple by the name of Floyd and Susan Martin were charged with illegally purchasing hundreds of dogs for resale to a variety of universities; prominent ones include Johns Hopkins and Columbia Universities.
The Martins purchased dogs for people called “bunchers.” Bunchers are people who gather dogs for resale from animal shelters, private individuals, auctions, strays, theft, and “free to good home” ads.
Floyd and Susan Martin of were federally classified as a source of dogs for medical research; they were ‘random source’ or Class B dealers. The couple cut a deal with prosecutors, and admitted that they illegally obtained dogs and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from research facilities.
Nancy Blaney of the Animal Welfare Institute is quoted in the story as saying “We’re talking about an abuse-ridden system of acquiring animals for research. They can get animals from individuals who respond to ‘free to good home’ ads or animals being stolen. We know because they have been traced through micro-chipping.”
Millions of pets are stolen every year, and clearly some of them are then sold to research laboratories. The research labs are not evaluating the origins of these dogs, as they are being purchased from ‘legitimate’ Class B dealers.
Research facilities have responded to public pressure- many are no longer using ‘random sourced’ dogs. The National Institutes of Health is on record claiming that by 2015 they will eliminate the use of Class B dealers.
Clearly there is no public support for animal research, along with questionable scientific benefit. What is difficult to fathom is that this is legal at all. There should be no federally sanctioning of anyone who can purchase animals, then re-sell them for scientific research.
This is a law that needs to change, and a practice that needs to end.
Is animal research necessary?
As far as I am concerned, No.
Little benefit comes from studying the metabolism of some new ‘wonder’ drug for people on a dog; dogs are a completely different species.
Yet animal research continues.
At the very least we must stop this unethical practice of federally sanctioned dog dealing.
Our dogs deserve better than this.
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
Sign up here for Free Updates (and get my free e-book "Top 10 Ways to Save Money at the Veterinarian"):
To post a comment, click the 'Comments' link below: