Dogs and docs protest canine testing at Wayne State

Critics, including Detroit-native Lily Tomlin, are demanding Wayne State University stop deadly experiments on animals. 

About 50 activists, dog lovers, and doctors were protesting on campus at WSU Wednesday with signs criticizing the university for its continued experiments involving dogs. Ryan Merkley claim the research is cruel and has not produced results that can help humans. 

"If this kind of thing were done anywhere outside of a research laboratory, the people doing it could be charged with animal cruelty," Merkley said.

"It's been 20 years of experiments and $8 million of taxpayers' monies that have gone to experiments on dogs that are invasive and painful for them." Jennifer Giordano, D.O. said.

The experiments are for heart failure research and critics say, are costly for taxpayers, painful for the dogs and not benefiting human heart patients.

"We know that in the last four and a half years, 54 dogs have been used in these experiments," she said.

"What they're doing is restricting blood flow to one of their kidneys to artificially induce hypertension and heart failure. While doing that, they are running the dogs on a treadmill."

"It's torturing dogs and so I'm here with Maggie," said Caroline Trapp. "I certainly don't want to see dogs suffering for no reason at all."

The physicians' committee for responsible medicine has been objecting to these experiments for several years. On Wednesday they delivered a letter from native Detroiter and Wayne State alum and comedian Lily Tomlin condemning the research.

Lisa Zalenski brought her Greyhound, Romeo, to the protest. He's good health but one of Zalenski's former dogs once was  here is in good health but his owner once had another greyhound who was used in pacemaker experiments

"She died one month before her fifth birthday. The dog started having seizures and we couldn't figure out why. The dog went to every kind of specialist and nobody could figure it out. "She wasn't the only one." 

Wayne State denies any charges of animal mistreatment, and the dogs are euthanized following the experiments

"The animals are treated humanely, They're under constant supervision of veterinarians. They're given very good care. We have a committee at Wayne State that's sole purpose is to ensure the animals are as possible," said Matt Lockwood, Wayne State spokesman.

Lockwood says the research  is overseen by the state and federal government.

"The cardiovascular research is ongoing,. it's making good progress and the NIH continues to view it as valuable and they keep funding it."

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