The following statement is from Dr. Mark Hamrick, Senior Vice President for Research at Georgia Regents University in response to the Humane Society of the United States news release dated November 20, 2013.
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