Six puppies were blinded for a University of Missouri-Columbia study, and then killed after the results were inconclusive.
In a study published on April 7, four researchers at the university were looking to find the effects of topical hyaluronic acid to heal eye damage in dogs for its pilot study.
After the six beagles — all less than a year old — were purposely blinded in their left eyes, the researchers split them up into two different groups, one that received the acid for treatment, and one that didn’t.
Neither group of the puppies in the experiment recovered from the severe damage to their eye.
All six were killed after the pilot study was over, with the damaged eyes removed and stored for future research.
The university has defended its study, telling the Daily News that animal research was necessary to find answers to “some of the most important medical questions.”
“Since dogs share similar eye characteristics with people, they are ideal candidates for corneal studies,” Mary Jo Banken, a spokeswoman with the school, said in a statement.
She added that the dogs were “as comfortable as possible” during the tests.
Beagle Freedom Project, an advocacy group for the dogs, called the university irresponsible for its research, ignoring its own standards for sufficient studies.
“Their own research protocol identified that six dogs was insufficient for this type of research, that they needed a bigger population pool,” Kevin Chase, the vice president of the organization told The News. The study originally called for 24 dogs. “Even if the research was effective by pouring this acid into their purposely damaged cornea, it would have been written off, because the population size was too small.”
Chase also argued the dogs, despite their blindness, could have been adopted following the experiments, rather than be euthanized.
The research industry’s standard is to euthanize any animals used in experiments once the study is over, Chase said.
He advocated for the Beagle Freedom Bill, which passed in New York on Aug. 16, ruling that cats and dogs used in state-funded research must be put up for adoption instead of being killed.
Similar laws have also been passed in states like California and Nevada.
The bill was named after beagles because the majority of experiments on dogs are performed on the breed because of its friendly nature, Chase said.
Original Article: NY Daily News
(Photo courtesy of Getty Images/RyanJ Lane)