The Humane Society of the United States is accusing Georgia Regents University of inhumane treatment of dogs after a three month investigation. In a complaint filed with the US Department of Agriculture, the Humane Society claims the university obtained dogs from a random source who has been formally charged by the USDA with violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
According to a HSUS investigator dogs were witnessed 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.
The HSUS has filed legal complaints with the USDA and the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory and Animal Welfare, urging an investigation into these allegations:
Officials with the Georgia Regents University Dental School just held a press conference. They said they followed USDA regulations.
Officials also said they were not aware the seller was a Class B dealer who was charged by the USDA, and that the animals were anesthetized before any implants were done. Officials said the animals were euthanized before samples of the jawbones were taken, and that they were never in any pain.
Here is the text of GRU's statement:
"The following statement is from Dr. Mark Hamrick, Senior Vice President for Research at Georgia Regents University in response to the Humane Society of the United States news release dated November 20, 2013.
On behalf of Georgia Regents University, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the allegations presented today by the humane society.
As an institution, we are committed to research that will provide a direct benefit to patient lives by restoring function to damaged and diseased organs and tissues.
The Food and Drug Administration, which provides oversight for medical device safety and procedures including dental implants, requires pre-clinical studies in animals demonstrating that the device or procedure is both safe and effective for its intended use in humans.
GRU's animal facility and animal use protocols are regularly reviewed and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and USDA has found no incidents of non-compliance.
Not only do we adhere to local, state, and federal guidelines, but GRU is also AAALAC International (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) accredited, which is voluntary.
The dogs were obtained from a vendor licensed and inspected by the USDA.
Dogs are used infrequently in research conducted at the university.
All animal experiments at GRU are reviewed with great scrutiny by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, as required by federal guidelines, and this review board includes scientists, clinical veterinarians and community members.
The video that was released shows surgical procedures performed under anesthesia, in sterile, aseptic conditions and followed with appropriate clinical management and pain control if necessary. The images showing open wounds in the neck were taken from the autopsy room, after the animal had already been euthanized.
The research being done with dogs is neither frivolous nor unnecessary, as alleged by the investigation, and is performed in order to develop safe, effective dental procedures for people."
Count on News Channel 6 to continue to update this developing story.
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