Beagle (File)

Florida Congressmembers Pass Historic Bill to “Eliminate” Cruel Government Testing On Pets, Primates

Beagle (File)
Op-Ed By Justin Goodman. Photo: Beagle (File)

Congress has finally passed long-overdue legislation to fund federal agencies for 2024. As in previous years, White Coat Waste Project (WCW) has been working hard on Capitol Hill to ensure these bills prioritize cutting wasteful government spending on animal tests. 

Now, thanks to years of outstanding leadership from Florida Congressmembers Brian Mast (R-FL) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and WCW’s tireless efforts, Congress has just enacted legislation to “eliminate” all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) experiments on cats, dogs, and primates by March 2026. 

This is the first time in history that Congress has enacted legislation ordering an agency to completely end experimentation across any animal species. 

Since 2016, WCW investigations and campaigns have exposed and ended much of the VA’s wasteful spending for cruel experiments on hundreds of pets and primates that entailed giving puppies heart attacksdrilling into cats’ skulls, injecting monkeys with angel dust, injecting Dobermans with methamphetamines and crippling kittens

Starting in 2018, Congress gradually restricted—but hadn’t yet eliminated—VA spending for cruel experiments on dogs, cats, and primates. Each year, Rep. Wasserman Schultz—the top Democrat on the VA’s spending panel—and Rep. Mast—an Army veteran—have led the charge to cut funding for this wasteful government animal abuse that experts agree is unnecessary

In addition to setting a hard deadline to end the VA’s dog, cat, and primate testing, the 2024 VA spending bill contains new transparency and accountability measures, including requiring regular animal lab inspections and reports to Congress documenting animal lab violations. 

WCW’s campaign at the VA also secured the government’s first-ever agency-wide lab animal adoption policy that’s already saved the lives of dogs and cats who survived testing. Previously, the VA would kill healthy dogs and cats after experiments, and even killed dogs that it falsely told the public it had adopted out. 

The new legislation to fully eliminate the VA’s testing on pets and primates is especially timely. Unfortunately, despite pressure from Congress and taxpayers and funding restrictions, current VA Secretary Denis McDonough is personally trying to ram through cruel, unnecessary, and illegal medical device tests on cats at the VA’s lab in Cleveland, Ohio before the 2026 deadline. We’re working with Congress to disrupt this wrong-headed scheme before it starts. 

This same notorious Cleveland VA lab previously killed kittens described as “friendly” and “playful” and is currently under investigation by the VA Inspector General following a complaint filed by WCW documenting how the lab conducted dozens of illegal animal experiments. 

In addition to leadership from Reps. Mast and Wasserman Schultz, Florida lawmakers including Bill Posey, Jared Moskowitz, Matt Gaetz, Greg Steube, Darren Soto, and Vern Buchanan have championed these successful efforts to defund the VA’s inhumane and wasteful tests on pets and primates. 

Now, thanks to leadership from Florida’s Congressional delegation, we are closer than ever to sending the VA’s wasteful taxpayer-funded experiments on cats, dogs, and primates to the litter box of history. That’s a victory that animal-lovers and liberty-lovers everywhere can celebrate. 

Justin Goodman is the Senior Vice President at government watchdog White Coat Waste Project. 

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