Two PETA protesters were forcibly removed from the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting Wednesday after demanding the board stop funding research at Texas A&M that breeds dogs with muscular dystrophy to create puppies with the disease for use in experiments to find a cure.
PETA has long been campaigning to bring an end to the long-running research project — a cause whose supporters include comedian Bill Maher, and former A&M quarterback Ryan Tannenhill, both of whom have characterized the research as cruel.
The leader of the research, Joe Kornegay, has defended the project by saying it seeks to find a cure for the debilitating disease in both humans and dogs, and that — doomed as they might be to a life of suffering — dogs brought into the world for use in the experiments are treated well.
He says they breed dogs with the disease because they can’t otherwise find enough canine participants who are already afflicted.
On Wednesday, in PETA’s latest protest, two shouting, sign-carrying members of the organization were removed from the meeting and charged with hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct.
A second protest, with fewer than a dozen participants, was staged along the Capital of Texas Highway, near the hotel where the regents were meeting, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“We’re asking them to stop funding Texas A&M while these labs continue,” said Matt Bruce, an organizer for PETA.
PETA says the dogs spend their short lives in cages and struggle to swallow and walk as the disease progresses. They are also subjected to being placed in a mechanical device that stretches, and often tears, their muscles, PETA says.
PETA says the experiments have failed to produce a single effective treatment for human muscular dystrophy in 35 years and don’t justify the misery the dogs are put through.