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Two charged in PETA’s continuing protest of Texas A&M muscular dystrophy research

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.

Comments

Comment from KateH
Time July 14, 2017 at 9:52 am

Well, it’s not too often that I agree with peta, but for dog’s sake, if the ‘reserach’ hasn’t done any good in 35 years, then, yes, it needs to end.

Comment from LucyP
Time July 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

These cruel experiments must stop. They are causing dogs to suffer tremendously and are not helping humans. It’s time to modernize and switch to human-relevant research methods.

Comment from Alka Chandna
Time July 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Joe Kornegay claims to be looking for a cure for muscular dystrophy, but his efforts over the past 35 years–breeding golden retrievers and other dogs to have canine muscular dystrophy–have failed to produce a single cure or even a treatment that reverses the symptoms of muscular dystrophy. And Kornegay has himself admitted that there are difficulties translating results from dogs to humans. The time, money, laboratory space, and other resources that were squandered over the past 35 years in Kornegay’s fruitless (and cruel) experiments would have been better directed to human-relevant research methods.

Comment from Emily R Trunnell, PhD
Time July 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Conducting experiments on dogs is not the way to help humans suffering from muscular dystrophy. Human muscular dystrophy must be studied using human cells and human data. Forward-thinking scientists are doing just that, using microfluidic technology, advanced 3D cell culturing techniques, and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to study the disease in the most relevant way, with cells that have a human genetic muscular dystrophy background. Thirty five years of suffering is more than enough for these dogs. Joe Kornegay and Texas A&M need to step into the 21st century.

Comment from KimMarie
Time July 14, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I applaud these protesters and do not think that they should be charged. What Texas A&M is doing to dogs is inhumane.

Comment from Terry Pride
Time July 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Actually, it’s ** not ** “hard to translate results in dogs, into humans”.
Insulin pumps & artificial hearts are only 2 of the many medical advances that were made, with dogs as the medical model. // Thankfully, many of the medical gains made WITH dogs, are now being used to SAVE dogs – such as implanting used cardiac pacemakers from humans, in dogs.

Dogs & humans overlap in 65% of our 2 species’ DNA. Many diseases, including mental issues, that occur in humans, occur in dogs.
Lots of Rx meds that help humans, also help dogs with the same condition; there is no reason to think that meds, gene-splicing, or other interventions that would prevent inherited MD from manifesting in dogs, would not similarly prevent MD symptoms in humans who inherit the problem.

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