Examples of Dog Experiments – “No-one who has ever enjoyed the loyal company of a dog could condone this callous treatment of a species that we have bred to trust us.”
Colin Baker, actor.
Around the world dogs are used for a variety of different experimental purposes and procedures.
In the UK they have been used to test agrochemicals, household products, pharmaceuticals, food additives, industrial chemicals and medical devices as well as for dental research and studies of the heart and circulation, respiration, muscles, bones and the digestive system.
Manufacturers of products such as fertilizers or household cleaners rarely publish details of animal studies they have conducted or commissioned, because of commercial confidentiality.
They also want to avoid the obvious negative publicity resulting from consumers discovering that dogs have been forced to swallow or inhale their latest product.
Published experiments for medical research are more widely available, but the true nature and extent of animal suffering is still very much kept behind closed doors.
Here are a few examples of dog experiments conducted in the UK that the BUAV has successfully exposed.
When reading these experiments, it is important to know that under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, dogs are supposed to receive special protection, so that researchers are required to offer specific justification for the use of dogs in procedures to ensure that they are only used when ‘absolutely necessary’.
In practice however, it would appear that little attention is paid to this requirement. Go to Legislation to find out more about the 1986 Act.
Beagles used to test Viagra: conducted by Pfizer Central Research, UK.
In October 1998 the BUAV exposed horrific experiments on dogs and other animals by drug company Pfizer, to test the anti-impotency drug Viagra.
The BUAV revealed that Pfizer’s researchers at Sandwich, UK, mutilated the penises of beagle dogs in order to investigate the effects of Viagra on pressure and blood flow to the penis.
Under anaesthesia the dogs’ penises were skinned and a needle inserted for recording pressure.
A nerve to the penis was electrically stimulated repeatedly, and the effects of doses of Viagra studied.
Pfizer’s researchers were granted a licence by the Home Office to perform these gruesome experiments despite the fact that Viagra had already undergone clinical trails and was already being administered to patients suffering from impotence.
These experiments were not conducted to establish the safety of Viagra, but simply as an investigative test to see how the drug worked.
More humane and relevant approaches to understanding how Viagra works could have been conducted using human penis tissue, or non-surgical and ethical studies involving human volunteers.
Beagles used in toxicity experiments at Huntingdon Research Centre (now Huntingdon Life Sciences), Cambridge, 1989.
In 1989, BUAV investigator Sarah Kite worked undercover at this facility for 8 months, during which time she was able to photograph and document a variety of toxicity experiments conducted on dogs.
Her evidence revealed the shocking suffering of dogs used in short and long term toxicity studies at a typical UK contract testing laboratory.
These tests ranged from dripping substances into the beagles’ eyes and feeding agrochemicals in their diet to force feeding them chemicals, drugs and household products in capsules via plastic tubes forced directly into their stomach.
Some beagles were also subjected to subcutaneous and skin toxicity tests as well as infusion studies where they were strapped into harnesses for up to 8 hours a day to have substances pumped directly into their bloodstream.
Toxicity experiments in general can result in extremely distressing side-effects and severe pain and suffering: vomiting, unsteady gait, diarrhoea and bloody diarrhoea, excessive salivation, tremors, inflamed and discharging eyes, excited behaviour, floppy muscles, pilo-erection (hair standing on end) as well as toxic effects on organs such as the heart, liver and testes.
Ultimately of course, the dogs can also eventually die during the experiment – they are literally poisoned to death.
As for those dogs who survive the experiment, they will all be killed at the end of the study and their bodies examined post-mortem for toxic effects.
Finally, at the end of their brief lives, the dead dogs are placed in rubbish sacks to await incineration; in the world of the laboratory their death has no more significance than the disposal of industrial garbage.
Beagles used to test anti-anxiety drug by Quintiles, Edinburgh, 1997-98.
Contract testing company Quintiles used 18 beagle puppies aged between 710 months, to test the anti-anxiety drug Lu 28-179, due to be launched on the market in 2002.
The test was commissioned by Danish drug company Lundbeck.
During the experiment the puppies were subjected to massive surgery involving their chest being cut open and electrodes sewn into their heart.
The dogs then had the drug infused into their veins. The tests were intended to measure heart activity and blood circulation.
After two hours the puppies were killed under anaesthetic.
The BUAV was able to reveal that during these tests, Quintiles’ researchers failed to comply with parts of the experimental protocol and, as a direct result of human error, two dogs were not able to be used in the test and were therefore killed before the end of the experiment.
One dog (no. HO289) had a major artery torn during surgery and was killed before the drug was even tested; the other dog (no. HO313) had the drug infused into its vein for the wrong period of time it too was killed.
The protocol also specifically stated that the dogs should be fed a particular diet but, in fact, they were given a completely different food.
Quintiles also failed to conduct measurements that should have been part of the health checks prior to the tests.
The highest dose of anaesthetic was also sometimes exceeded, in addition to one blood sample being lost and other blood samples being incorrectly labelled.
Surprisingly however, despite the apparent significance of these errors, they were not seen by Quintiles to have any bearing on the results.
Beagles used in blood mobilisation study at the University of Leeds, published 1999.
11 beagles were used.
Under anaesthetic their windpipe was cut open for artificial ventilation, their chest was cut open to monitor blood pressure and heart rate, and their abdomen was also cut open so that nerves in the liver could be artificially stimulated with electrodes.
In the published paper there is no explanation as to why so many beagles were used in this experiment, and the authors offer no justification for the experiments whatsoever.
It is probable that the tests were conducted simply to enhance our understanding of blood physiology, a purpose that is not easily justified.
There are distinct and significant differences between the circulatory systems of humans and dogs, making extrapolation to humans of any information from this study highly questionable.
These dog experiments are also a partial repetition of previous findings, to which the authors refer in the published article.
For example, it is already well known how the liver blood volume can change in response to nervous stimulation.
Beagles used to test anti-migraine treatment by Pfizer, Kent, published 1998.
A group of beagles were anaesthetised and vessels removed from their leg and the base of the brain.
The dogs were then killed under anaesthetic. The removed tissue was used to test the chemical eletripan as an anti-migraine treatment.
This study was granted a licence despite the fact that eletripan had already entered clinical trials involving human testing in 1996 and so its potential as an anti-migraine treatment was already known when these dogs were killed.
It would appear from the available published data that the dogs were killed purely to remove tissue, ie: just to provide body parts.
The use of dog tissue at all cannot be sufficiently justified considering human cells in culture had already previously been used to study eletripan.
Arteries from the human brain and leg can easily be obtained post mortem, in fact similar such studies involving human tissue had also been conducted in the past.
The published paper goes on to discuss the authors’ surprise that data from dog tissue differed from that using human tissue.
However, their possible explanation for the conflicting data seems to ignore the obvious distinct biochemical differences between the two species.
Beagles used in diabetes research at St Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals, London, published 1998.
During these experiments, four beagles were anaesthetised and given excess amounts of insulin for two hours to stop their body producing its own insulin.
By doing this, the researchers induced an artificial diabetic state in the dogs.
They then went on to examine the effects of a novel insulin-like protein on liver glucose stores (they wanted to know if the new protein was physiologically similar to natural insulin).
Each dog was subjected to five experimental protocols, each lasting 8.5 hours.
The potential of new insulin treatment for diabetes can be alternatively investigated using human volunteers.
Using volunteers from the thousands of British people living with diabetes, would have presented a far more ethical and reliable study than the use of a biochemically different species with an artificially induced diabetes-like state.