Ad blasts animal medical experiments at Wayne State

The Detroit News

An animal rights group plans to show an advertisement in a Detroit theater this week to highlight the plight of a dog they claim died after medical experiments at Wayne State University.

The 15-second spot is slated to appear before each movie on all 10 screens of the Bel Air Luxury Cinema starting Friday — the release date for the animated film “Finding Dory,” said officials with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The ad focuses on “Dorrie,” whom the nonprofit alleges “experienced three painful surgeries to implant 11 devices into her heart and blood vessels” for hypertension experiments. Over about seven months at a Wayne State laboratory in 2011, the Shepherd-mix “suffered appetite loss, fever, lethargy and other signs of pain and illness,” the group said — citing medical records obtained from the university through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

The dog was euthanized in 2011, according to the group.

“It’s too late for Dorrie the dog, but ‘Finding Dory’ fans can help save other dogs by visiting EndDogExperiments.org and signing the petition to Wayne State University,” John J. Pippin, director of academic affairs for the physicians committee, said in a statement Wednesday. “Finding cures for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension means using advanced, human-relevant research methods including studies of human populations. Dogs like Dorrie are very poor models for hypertension and other heart diseases in people due to the many differences in anatomy and physiology.”

Reached Thursday, Wayne State communications director Matt Lockwood said the experiments advance science. “The National Institutes of Health continue to fund them because they’re making advances in science and provide help for people with hypertension,” he said, adding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees animal research labs, has “come out and inspected our labs at the request of the PCRM twice, unannounced, and found nothing wrong. … We are fully accredited. We’ve had no violations.”

Last year, the committee sponsored a billboard depicting a dog the committee says died Aug. 4, 2014, in a university laboratory after heart failure experiments.

Officials said at the time that animal experiments have “played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century — for both human and animal health.”

“From antibiotics to blood transfusions, from dialysis to chemotherapy, bypass surgery and joint replacement, practically every present-day protocol for the prevention, treatment, cure and control of disease, pain and suffering is based on knowledge attained through research with animals,” the university said.