AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Undercover footage from a three-month-long investigation at Georgia Regents University shows the suffering and death of dogs used in dental implant experiments, according to The Humane Society of the United States.
An investigator with The Humane Society witnessed dogs undergoing painful experiments where their teeth were pulled out and replaced with dental implants, according to information released Wednesday by The Humane Society. Once the experiments were over, the dogs were euthanized for a small sample of their jaw bone.
Dr. Mark Hamrick, Senior Vice President for Research at Georgia Regents University, said that the dogs used in experiments were not in pain and were treated humanely.
"The video that was released shows surgical procedures performed under anesthesia, in sterile, aseptic conditions and followed with appropriate clinical management and pain control if necessary," Hamrick said during a press conference Wednesday.
"The images showing open wounds in the neck were taken from the autopsy room, after the animal had already been euthanized," he said.
Read Hamrick's full statement below.
Researchers at GRU used dogs to compare a dental implant invented at the university (in conjunction with a private company) with that of a competitor, according to The Humane Society.
The Humane Society also claims that GRU obtains dogs from a random-source Class B animal dealer who has been formally charged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
"Dogs don't need to die for frivolous dental experiments," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society. "It's painful to watch these forlorn dogs sacrificed for these questionable purposes. And the situation is compounded by the university's relationship with an unscrupulous animal dealer."
But Hamrick said the dogs were "obtained from a vendor licensed and inspected by the USDA."
Actress Kim Basinger joins the Humane Society in speaking out against the experiments. She narrated the attached video about the investigation.
Here is the full statement from Dr. Mark Hamrick, Senior Vice President for Research at Georgia Regents University:
On behalf of Georgia Regents University, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the allegations presented today by the humane society.
As an institution, we are committed to research that will provide a direct benefit to patient lives by restoring function to damaged and diseased organs and tissues.
The Food and Drug Administration, which provides oversight for medical device safety and procedures including dental implants, requires preclinical studies in animals demonstrating that the device or procedure is both safe and effective for its intended use in humans.
GRU's animal facility and animal use protocols are regularly reviewed and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and USDA has found no incidents of non-compliance.
Not only do we adhere to local, state, and federal guidelines, but GRU is also AAALAC International (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) accredited, which is voluntary.
The dogs were obtained from a vendor licensed and inspected by the USDA.
Dogs are used infrequently in research conducted at the university.
All animal experiments at GRU are reviewed with great scrutiny by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, as required by federal guidelines, and this review board includes scientists, clinical veterinarians and community members.
The video that was released shows surgical procedures performed under anesthesia, in sterile, aseptic conditions and followed with appropriate clinical management and pain control if necessary. The images showing open wounds in the neck were taken from the autopsy room, after the animal had already been euthanized.
The research being done with dogs is neither frivolous nor unnecessary, as alleged by the investigation, and is performed in order to develop safe, effective dental procedures for people.
GRU's policies and procedures for the utilization and care of animals can be found at www.gru.edu/research/animal/policies