Texas A&M is defending its medical research involving dogs after a new video was released by the animal rights group PETA.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released the 3-year-old video last week and the organization is urging supporters to send letters to Texas A&M's President to ask that the school stop "cruel and wasteful experiments on dogs."
To view the full video, click on the link embedded into this story.
Texas A&M released the following statement to KBTX:
It has come to our attention that a video posted this week from our facility from several years ago was done so with no context provided.
The dogs seen drooling (with tails wagging) have a genetic condition that also affects humans – boys primarily – called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Affected children develop profound, progressive muscle weakness and loss resulting in a range of symptoms, including difficulty or inability to stand unassisted, along with difficulty breathing. Prognosis is poor, with death by teens or twenties. Currently there is no cure.
The dogs – who are already affected by this disease - are treated with the utmost respect and exceptional care on site by board-certified veterinarians and highly trained staff. The care team is further subject to scientific oversight by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, among other regulatory bodies.
The facility built for this research is state-of-the-art. Our work is shared not only nationally but globally with the goal of finding a cure for this dreadful disease, DMD, in both children and dogs worldwide. We are proud of our care team, facility and work in support of this endeavor.
The following is the message PETA is urging supporters to send to Texas A&M:
I just watched disturbing video footage of dogs who are being used in muscular dystrophy (MD) experiments suffering behind closed doors at your university.
It was distressing to see these animals, all part of Dr. Joseph Kornegay's golden retriever MD colony, struggling to walk and even eat. Drool dripped from the mouths of dogs whose jaw muscles had weakened.
Other dogs were seen struggling to consume the thin gruel that they had to subsist on because of their atrophied esophageal muscles and enlarged tongues.
These animals waste away on uncomfortable slatted floors without so much as a blanket. Non-affected dogs used for breeding frantically pace and bite at the cage bars.
I understand that the MD dogs who survive long enough will develop heart problems as the disease finally attacks the cardiac muscle.
I applaud Texas A&M's goal of helping to find a cure for MD in humans. But funding studies in dogs is a misguided effort that wastes precious time and money. Despite decades of testing, these studies have failed to produce a cure or even an effective intervention for MD in humans.
There are far better ways to help MD patients.
I strongly urge Texas A&M to stop MD experiments on dogs, stop breeding dogs, release them for adoption into good homes, and in the future, support only promising, modern, non-animal therapies, such as transplantation of healthy muscle cells into patients with MD.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.