APA calls on Senate leadership to support VA-sponsored canine research

On May 14, 2019, the American Psychological Association (APA) sent a letter to Sen. John Boozman, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, and Sen. Brian Schatz, ranking member of the subcommittee, to express opposition to language in the House version of the FY 2020 Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from continuing its important research with canines.

To date this research program has been instrumental in the development of many therapies and therapeutics that benefit humans, including a cardiac pacemaker, non-invasive treatment of intervertebral discs, cough enhancement stimulators for individuals with spinal cord injuries (which renders them susceptible to respiratory infections), and treatments for narcolepsy.

The letter notes the stringent regulations in the United States on research with nonhuman animals, which ensure the research is ethically sound and scientifically valid and that the animals involved are afforded humane care and treatment.

APA, in collaboration with other organizations, will continue to monitor the funding bill and work to ensure that language that prevents the conduct of important research is not included in the final version.

For further information on APA’s work on this issue, contact Dr. Sangy Panicker, Director of the Research Ethics Office in the Science Directorate; Dr. Heather Kelly, Director, Military and Veterans Health Policy; or Pat Kobor, Senior Science Policy Analyst.