In November of 2013, an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) revealed abuse suffered by dogs in dental experiments at Georgia Regents University (GRU). The HSUS reported 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 at the facility were acquired through Class B Dealers, people who are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase/resell animals. Class B dealers get animals from “free to a good home” ads online, flea markets, auctions, and even animal shelters if the state allows. As of September of this year, only six Class B Dealers are in operation in the U.S. Of that six, three are under investigation by the USDA for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act, according to the HSUS.
Now, the university has issued a statement that they will no longer purchase dogs from controversial Class B dealers, according to this HSUS press release. And, according to The Augusta Chronicle, “The experiments witnessed by the Humane Society last year were privately funded and would not have been affected by the NIH rule.” (The NIH (National Institute of Health) does not fund research that involves animals procured from Class B Dealers.)
While this decision from GRU is certainly a move to be applauded, we hope that they will take it one step further by considering a revision of their entire animal research department — because this is an area that really needs to be scrutinized and changed. Even with national and local pressure on this issue, the university has still not revisited its stance on dental experiments.
Some of local activism is highlighted by The Augusta Chronicle. The paper reports, “Dennis Briatico, 36, of North Augusta, helped organize a Dec. 7 march of about 100 protesters from the Augusta Judicial Center to the GRU College of Dental Medicine to demand the school end the experiments. He is planning another rally for Feb. 15 at Augusta Common to raise awareness about animal testing at GRU and to promote animal rescue and adoption.”
We admire Briatico and everyone who is speaking out for animals — you are doing amazing work, keep it up — the animals needs you.