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Taxpayer Funded Cruelty To Animals

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Let me start off by saying that I’m a hypocrite. I eat meat, love me a good steak and am damn good at cooking one, if I do say so myself. Same goes for pork, chicken, fish, if you can buy it in the grocery store, I’ll likely cook it and eat it. What does that have to do with me being a hypocrite? Well, I love animals, more so than a lot of people, and it bothers me when I hear of animals being mistreated, for any reason. 

My hypocrisy doesn’t end with just eating meat, in spite of my last name, I will never go hunting (with the possible exception of living in a zombie or some other type of post-apocalyptic world). I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, to kill an animal. So, yes, I warmly embrace the idea that I’m an awful, carnivorous hypocrite. And I’m OK with that. 

I’m also hypocritical in that there are some animals I care more about than others. So are most people, if they’re being honest with themselves. A dog or a cat takes priority over a fish or an animal I only have contact with in a zoo or see in a movie. Again, it’s hypocritical, but it is what it is, and at least I’m being honest about it.

The idea of experimenting on animals for cosmetics went out of vogue decades ago, torturing a living creature so the world might have another shade of eye shadow was always a bad idea. And I know medical experiments on animals happen and sometimes have some benefit, though there’s an enormous amount of waste. I’m not naïve, I’m more willfully ignorant. I choose not to think about it and bask in my own faux ignorance.

But you can’t live in a cocoon of ignorance all the time. I know experiments on animals happens in the private sector, but it’s different when it’s my tax dollars paying for cruelty.

A friend of mine, who shares my love of animals, sent me some stories about how the Veterans’ Administration is performing painful medical experiments on dogs. Again, I understand the importance of medical research, but is it too much to ask that they spare dogs from the scalpel? 

“VA dog experimenter Alex Tan received big bonuses and a salary increase even after reports emerged that he had botched numerous dog surgeries and was banned from various animal experiments,” a report in the Daily Caller reads

The details are disturbing, as is the fact that Tan received a salary of $340,000 in 2017 after his screw ups. We would never accept this from a doctor practicing on human beings, why should be pay for it from a doctor experimenting on animals? 

Much of what is done, on our dime, would turn your stomach. 

The next paragraph is disturbing, but it’s just a taste of what our tax dollars are funding:

Right now, the VA doles out more than $1,600 to purchase 6-month-old beagles, hounds or mixed-breed dogs. The white coats at the VA then spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to surgically induce heart attacks by injecting latex into the puppies’ arteries and then stressing their damaged hearts by forcing them to run on a treadmill. Congress members have noted that some of the experiments are placed in the government’s “maximum pain” category because the dogs’ pain and distress are left unrelieved. The VA then sticks a needle in them, cuts their hearts out and tosses their bodies in the trash.

It’s not just me and my soft-spot for animals. Republicans in Congress are leading a successful effort to curtail the VA’s dog abuse, and veterans groups are speaking out against the VA’s dog testing. 

According to one of the national veterans’ groups opposed to this research, “The VA’s unconscionable and unnecessary dog research squanders resources needed to provide veterans with the healthcare and disability benefits they’ve earned.”

Moreover, one veterans’ advocate has pointed out, “It turns out that the only 21st century innovation the VA claims any of its dog testing has contributed to – the artificial pancreas for treating Type 1 diabetes – was entirely industry-funded.” 

Wounded Warrior Johnny “Joey” Jones, a veteran who lost both his legs in service to the country, wrote in an op-ed opposing the VA’s dog testing practices, “It’s especially shameful that VA is defending spending millions of tax dollars to buy and cut up dogs for its dubious research but refuses to provide service dogs to support veterans suffering from the devastating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and who are committing suicide at alarming rates.”

We’re always being lectured by liberals about what type of a nation we are, and they’re usually wrong or simply trying to score cheap political points. But when it comes to what we accept the VA spending our tax dollars on, or what we hide our eyes from, in the treatment of defenseless canines, there is a real choice to be made. 

Jones concluded, “As a combat wounded Marine who’s given both legs for an idea of security and a pursuit of happiness – and as a human being who’s experienced the horrific suffering of war — I believe our government can and should do better for veterans, taxpayers and dogs.” 

I agree. Count me in with the veterans, taxpayers, and the dogs. 

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