Sunday , 21 December 2014

Hamrick releases statement in response to Humane Society news release

GRUThe 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




  1. From long experience with animal rights groups, I have noted that there is a strong tendency in these groups to “find something” even if their inside plant has to violate policy and themselves abuse an animal to “get the goods” on whatever targeted animal testing facility they dislike today. They can only justify their “true belief” if they can demonize a target whether something happens or not. I quit supporting the Humane Society years ago because they threw in with these radicals.

    • What? I hope you’re being supportive of animals. Your post is confusing. Please clarify Owen.

    • These animals never had a choice. I don’t care if it is to make something safe for people. Let people volunteer for it. I’m sorry, but it’s just not right to take an animal, who has no voice, and subject them to these experiments so that people can have dental implants. Defend it however you want to, but it’s still not okay. My dogs are members of my family. This makes me feel sick!

      • Thank you!!!! I have two dogs and they are like our kids… they have feelings and feel pain… They have no voice in what happens to them… It is sickening to hear this is happening and what kind of people can sell and buy the dogs knowing what is going to happen to them… People without a soul!!!

  2. The ignorance with regards to using dogs for these experiments is shameful! Please look at the neurological research using FMRIs of the brains of dogs. Not much different than humans with regards to emotional sites that light up. Imagine a human in place of these dogs. The emotional sites are the same. If research can dispute the findings of the FMRI results, then I stand corrected. However, there is no research to date that can dispute that the brains of dogs with regards to emotion is any different than those of humans. How ignorant and shameful for an educational facility not to have this information!

  3. The research you are doing IS absolutely frivolous and unnecessary, as dental implants are nothing new. You’re using these animals and then taking their lives purely as training for your students , which is absolutely immoral. I will be sure that everyone in my circle of high school parents knows about what you do there to be sure no one considers your school for their child. The HSUS is a reputable humane organization and does not sensationalize their investigations as some other groups do. Their accusations are believable and valid.

    • Ms. Tague, dogs are absolutely not used as student training for dental implants. This has to do with research which is in an area of campus no where near where the student’s are practicing anything.

  4. The dealer is unscrupulous and will hopefully be shut down by the USDA. I urge the University to go above and beyond minimum requirements to ensure the well being of the animals in your care. The sores on the dog’s paws in the video are abhorrent, and should not even be consistent with minimum standards.

  5. Mark,
    In reading your defensive response to recent allegations you wrote that your research is to benefit patients lives by restoring organs & tissues.
    My remark here is this: the dental work that your lab is performing is NOT to save people’s lives. It is purely cosmetic. You know this!
    Also, why was “shy guy” killed after he was used? Why are any of the animals that the University tests on killed? Why not have the decency to find them sanctuary?
    And furthermore, I know very well that class b dealers are NOT licensed and that you buy them for dirt cheap. So don’t lie in a statement saying that you do.
    People like me who love and care about the welfare of all animals are never going to go away. So I hope you’re ready for battle because every day that you continue to support your grotesque position there at the University, you will have to answer to us.
    Please do not make excuses as to why in the world you are still using living beings to test on when you know as well as I do that there are other alternatives. You are not saving the world and you are not God.

    • OMG!!! I love your response!! So true that he is not GOD and he is not “SAVING” human lives!! I don’t care if GRU has every license needed and has followed every guideline, testing should not be done on defenseless animals!!

  6. Your response to the Human Society’s news release left me feeling more discouraged. You site the USDA and the FDA as overseerers. These government agencies do a very poor job at protecting animals. In addition, the entity you use to purchase your “product ” or as I would describe them – helpless, living beings, that have no choose in the matter, is under investigation for unscrupulous practices. For god sake, are you trying to convince me in your response that it is OK to use a dog, then kill it, so that we can have dental implants? Really – that is who we are? I feel disgusted and will forever more connect your university to animal abuse.

  7. I understand the need for animal research before human trials. Let’s be honest about the need for it. However, dogs? Let me suggest animals that would otherwise be slaughtered for meat. Like pigs for example. A pig jaw is not all that different from a dog jaw and there are pigs out there that could have been purchased from a farm that would have slaughtered them anyways. After the research the meat could still be used so there is nothing wasted. I don’t have a problem with pigs or anything I’m just saying they are ready being killed for meat, not dogs. At least not in this contry. Very poor decision on behalf of the research team at GRU. Never underestimate the love of dogs in this contry. Heads will roll.

  8. The absolute ignorance of the aforementioned statement by the University is outrageous! How can a facility of higher education still be in the dark ages when it comes to the testing involved with ensuring product safety? The video I have seen clearly shows these dogs in distress and in pain, yet you as an institution of higher learning and a talking head for the University ignore the obvious. These animals are living, breathing beings with feelings – beings that experience pain, fear, and loneliness — that which you blatantly ignore under the lame guise of developing dental procedures – Procedures which have been in place for years. Obviously you have no soul or conscience or you would not attempt to justify the actions of the University.

    Bravo to those who have expose these atrocities and Shame on you as humans and shame on you as a University!

  9. I am a researcher at GRU, I am not part of LAS, or the Administration. Animal use is highly regulated and scrutinized at GRU, and other academic research institutes. If the Humane Society, or any individual they snuck in, believed there was inappropriate training, animal treatment, or even the specific use of the animals was inappropriate, there is a formal mechanism to address this that they would have been aware of. All individuals involved in animal care, or experimental use, would be well aware of this since it is part of their training. In that the individual the Humane Society placed in the animal facility would have had to undergo formal Laboratory Animal Services training they would have been well aware of how to report their concerns. GRU takes animal care and use very seriously and any reported violation, or concern would be investigated at multiple levels. Since the Humane Society and their “undercover investigator” did not file a report with GRU, which can even be done anonymously, it is clear their intentions were not to work within the system, or to get the institution to stop an inappropriate activity. Rather this was a political action and is designed to raise funds for the Humane Society. If they were really concerned they would have started with contacting GRU – not the press. Formal reporting procedures would have been used, and they are taken very seriously by the institution since they deal with State and Federal Laws. GRU would have had to initiate action since not doing so is also reportable. I am not impressed that with the Humane Society indicates in their Press release that they contacted reporting agencies that GRU would have also contacted. See the policy below regarding what to do if anyone believes something is wrong. In short the Humane Society was more interested in publicity than in working directly with an institution that takes great care, and expends significant resources and effort, to do the right thing.

    “Any person observing inappropriate or deficient animal care or treatment should immediately notify the Director of Laboratory Animal Services (1-3421), the Chair of IACUC (706) 721-9800, the Compliance Coordinator (1-0198), or any member of the IACUC. No facility employee, committee member or laboratory personnel shall be discriminated against or be subject to any reprisal for reporting violations of any regulation or standard under the Animal Welfare Act. The complainant’s identity will be kept confidential when requested.”

    • Excuse me, but it seems you are trying to move the focus here of what was happening to the dogs and other animals but to the Humane Society’s undercover investigator because they did not follow the “formal reporting procedures”. Boo hiss to you. Sounds like this formal reporting procedure that GRU has is to keep the truth from the public. Well, to late Dave, whats done is done. Its time to focus on the real issue and thats to stop GRU from hurting and killing anymore animals!!

      Oh Dave, do I need to fill out a FORMAL REPORT for that?

    • Oh, so it’s the Humane Society’s fault. You did absolutely nothing wrong. Yeah, right! If you weren’t doing anything wrong then the Humane Society wouldn’t have had anything to report on. You know you are wrong and you are simply trying to deflect attention away from yourselves. And legal does not equate to moral. While the law might allow this, it is morally wrong and you know it. There is no defense for GRU’s actions. This ‘experiment’ had nothing to do with saving lives but it did have everything to do with vanity. Dental implants are a nice option for those who can afford it but far from being necessary. There are a lot of people out there that can’t afford basic dental care, why don’t you offer this experimental treatment to them? I know why, because you can’t euthanize them and throw them away like garbage when you are through.

      Anyone who could watch those poor dogs beg for a simple pat on the head, a kind word, or a small amount of affection and then turn around and throw them away like garbage are cold, unfeeling, souless monsters. But I’m really wasting my breath here. If you had any kind of decency, compassion, you wouldn’t be experimenting with pets.

  10. There is absolutely NO reason to use any animal in medical or dental research. And it is especially disgusting that these quacks would use a poor dog. It is a disgrace when so called scientist are so ignorant about life, and are so eager to take a life to gain some credibility. Anyone who would do such a horrendous act in the name of science deserves nothing less then scorn and should be fired immediately. Stupidity and cruelty have no place in modern science.

  11. We are contributing to a legal fund to help put you out of business. It appears Georgia Regents University is a hillbilly organization that needs to go.

  12. To the university, could you please explain the work/research that was performed on this particular dog.

  13. This is unnecessary dental work. In addition, there is no way to justify the suffering of the animals for frivolous surgery. Animals feel pain and suffer greatly at the hands of so-called “medical research.” There is no justification for purchasing dogs, regardless of where they are from and abusing then killing them. Perhaps your institution should take a more enlightened stand and show the way for others to follow. Right now what you are doing is shameful and disgusting!

  14. This is nothing but a money grab. The school is lining their pockets doing the dirty work of private medical device companies. Shameful.

  15. Well… Every single time I read the words “does not sensationalize their investigations,” I realize that people have no clue what they are talking about. Everyone sensationalizes something… that is how they get the attention they want to spread their message. If they put out boring, tired, and non-sensationlized videos/investigation documents, who would care? They make the videos and “investigation” evidence as touching and as heart wrenching as they can to get attention. I’m not saying what they do is wrong, I am saying that everyone adds a little bit to their stories to make it more relatable.

    Also… you need to check the facts on the HSUS “reputable” dealings. have fun reading some facts… also don’t say “oooh its a watch site so their views are biased.” There are many things out there indicating that the HSUS is not as “reputable” and “believable” as you say.

    I agree, that the school should definitely make sure their testing animals come from a reputable, and reliable dealer, but to say that the school isnt fit for your children’s future education is absolutely ludicrous. Where do you think many of the doctors and dentists that we rely on for our health and well being came from?

    You shouldn’t let “sensationalized” “evidence”and “investigations” rule your ability to think properly. I for one am proud of GRU for doing what they do, they saved my life, and it was to all of the research and well educated doctors and staff that allow me to walk the earth this day. Make sure that you can look at things rationally is all I am saying. Animal testing is a sad thing, I for one wouldnt be able to do it, but it is necessary to further the growth of the medical field.

    Thanks GRU! (Hooray for sensationalization)

    • No animal should be TESTED on!! Why not test on death row inmates? The tests being performed are to be used for humans eventually, right? Well they are human and are gonna die anyway for some crime they committed. These dogs did not commit a crime. They were just unfortunate to be born into this world because some idiot did not have the brain to get their dog spade or neutered. So now they have to pay the price of cruelty at the hands of man. I realize this might sound stupid to you but testing on a dog or cat sounds idiotic to me. I know that GRU is a good school but that does not give them the right to hurt and kill animals.

  16. AFTER they’ve been euthanized????? Why were they euthanized??? After they’ve outlived their usefulness I guess. You people doing this to these innocent animals are sick. Maybe the researchers need to start experimenting on each other instead. Licensed vendor….yeah of stolen or lost pets probably. Someone needs to do something to make sure this experimentation is stopped for good.

  17. It is shameful that a school would still use medieval torture techniques on innocent animals in the name of advancing medicine. This research department needs to be shut down and all administrator’s involved be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Animal abuse is a felony in GA and everyone involved should be punished.

  18. Marilyn Fioravanti

    I long for the day when experiments on animals will be seen for the barbaric behavior that it is and that no reputable university would even think of engaging in such behavior.

    Think about it. If puppy mills are seen as questioable businesses, how much more are “vendors” who supply animals for barbaric experiments and research, only to have these animals euthanized when the “research” is finished.

    The Humane Society is a trusted organization. It works to ease and eliminate suffering. Your institution is engaged in causing suffering. Please stop.

  19. There are countless regulations on the treatment and testing on animals for these universities. There should be some regulation on what the Humane Society and other organizations do when they deliberately make these institutions looks like scum. Most people will take a moral stance on this right up until one of their family members suffer from something that this research will help. While I do think that the institution could do a better job at keeping these animals, I also believe that this was blown way out of proportion. The Humane Society will likely get what they want from this and then move on to the next victim. They would probably have no problem with killing other humans for the sake of their own agenda. The animals are more of a tool for them.

  20. this is a wrong headed practice. there are other options to test efficacy – to use companion animals is a terrible practice and should be stopped immediately.

  21. That statement means absolutely nothing. Too many animals are put to sleep today just for the reason that us as humans have no regard for life when it takes very little to curb the overpopulation. You have to add insult to injury by putting more animals to sleep just to destroy them for no good reason. It’s a shame that you don’t see past your science to the amoral conduct of this institution.

  22. Dude what do you think happens to animals when there is no owner? They get put down. I’m not saying that’s right but that’s just facts. GRU hasn’t been putting down dogs to use for research they got them that way. Same thing happens to humans after death. The humane society could have reported it but they chose to go public? Well why would they do that? For more funds? I say all of this when I have owned rescued dogs for most of my life and I love animals but I hate people who try to exploit people or a place for their own personal gain. That is just wrong. They haven’t been killing animals and those animals with said faces were still on the drugs from the surgery. This is ridiculous that they have decided to do this. And everyone is just following because there was a video. Do yall believe everything you see and read on the internet. Come on people be smarter than that. They have so many different laws and paperwork and agencies that regulate these things.

    • Hold on there Jack C, in your post you said “GRU hasn’t been putting down dogs to use for research they got them that way.” Then further down you state, “They have’t been killing animals and those animals with said faces were still on the drugs from the surgery.” So if GRU receives the dogs already euthanized, then why are they groggy from surgery? I’m no rocket scientist but seems to me they would still look ‘dead’ after the exploratory surgery. Don’t you think?

  23. So not only does the university refuse to take responsibility for these animals, this letter does NOT address the easily obtainable fact that animal dealer Kenneth Schroeder has been cited multiple times for violation of the Animal Welfare Act, according to the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine:

    “Class B random source animal dealer is Kenneth Schroeder of Wells, Minn. Mr. Schroeder has been cited for dozens of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including at least 14 instances of failure to make himself available for inspections, unsanitary and unsafe animal facilities, and inadequate or withheld veterinary care for sick animals.’

    More on Schroeder in this link:

  24. This statement is, in fact, a lie.

    These experiments were done in part to compare a dental implant invented by researchers at GRU (in conjunction with a private company) with that of a competitor. This is not required by law, but by business needs

    The NIH announced they will no longer fund research using Class B cats as of October 2012 and random-source Class B dogs no later than 2015. That should give you a measure of how unethical it is.

    Saying “the USDA has found no hints of noncompliance” is past inspections does not answer the allegation that these current experiments, conducting with the knowledge that there was no impending inspection, were in some cases done without an approved protocol. That was simply an artful lie.

    The type of dealer you work with, class B random source, has dwindled from 3000 suppliers in 2009 to just 6 today. That’s not an accident. They regularly obtain animals through fraud and theft. Of these 6, 4 are currently under investigation by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

    You’ve made me ashamed to be a resident of Georgia and also sick to my stomach. I recognize the necessity for some animal experimentation, but you’ve done it for profit, not knowledge, with disrespect for the animals, and unnecessary cruelty, and with callous disregard for the nature of the suppliers you deal with.

  25. Animal Cruelty is not Ethical Science: On the Outrageous Georgia Regents University Scandal

    Involving the graphic video depictions of canine neglect, abuse, and murder, let’s not dance around the issue– greed is at the very heart of this highly embarrassing controversy. Why? Beyond the smoke and mirrors of federal research funding sits a team of bullish executives, perhaps sitting in a plush, high-rise boardroom somewhere who brilliantly concocted the idea of making millions marketing non-essential, cosmetic, dental implants and their procedures. In order to cut costs, saving on their bottom line, they craftily decide to use canines purchased from the cheapest source available. Then, as is standard protocol, they prostitute a group of research professors and doctoral students to do the grunt work of their sinister bidding. Rather than using deceased animals or human cadavers to satisfy their ends, they savagely exploit the living, feeling, and helpless. Furthermore, they sloppily (or knowingly, still to be determined) purchase canines from a dealer under direct federal investigation by the USDA for prior animal welfare violations. I mean is this seriously the America we live in?

    This is the height of disgust, the epitome of scientific barberism that lies at the core of many corporate endeavors. Pillage, plunder, and to heck with the pawns who are mercilessly sacrificed on the alter of big medicine, pharmaceuticals, and the thousands of other toxic, synthetic Fortune 500 products we consume daily. Apparently the end still justifies the means and since animals are the lowliest creatures on the totem pole of life, they suffer worst. After all, let’s face facts, what happened at GRU isn’t really advancing science, its only serving to advance someone’s corporate stock portfolio.

    For shame! The Humane Society of the United States should press Congress to immediately suspend all National Institute of Health and USDA oversight funding to Georgia Regents University and similar schools conducting such heinous research. The university should be heavily fined, censured, and be placed on temporary probation from all animal-related research pursuits to serve as an example for future violations.


  26. Protest with us this morning at 11:00AM~!
    15th and Laney Walker.

    If you can’t make it today, then join the million dog walk on December 7th~!

  27. Join the protest!

  28. One of the problems is that the research being done isn’t ethical.
    Research using animals can be great! We need it!

    BUT, when the conditions of the animals are so deplorable that their spirits are broken, and their bodies are wasting away, then the variables for the research being done are so high that any results gained will be greatly skewed.

    Any animals being used for research need to be able to live lives as full and rich as any beloved pet. Walks, affection, playtime, socialization, a climate controlled environment, access to food and water, mental stimulation, and veterinary care.
    In most of these things, GRU has failed severely.

    And taking a life. Taking an innocent life.
    Killing another living creature with sentience…
    That is always wrong. Always.
    Ending a life prematurely is wrong.
    If you are a human, and you have the opportunity to help another living creature, then you should do so.
    These “people” failed in this, the most basic part of our humanity.
    They took what they needed from a weaker species with thoughts and feelings and dreams, and then they threw them into the garbage.

    No self-respecting scientist I know would ever be a part of this.
    This is not science.
    This is specieism.
    This is a gross abuse of power, thinly disguised as science.

  29. Wrong is wrong, and what you are doing to these animals is not okay. Period.

  30. My mother had dental implants well over 10 years ago. So now you need to kill dogs to do what? By the way, did you see how skinny that one poor dog was? I can only assume that the dog could not eat due to his new teeth? For myself, if an animal has to die, I want nothing to do with the end product! As far as I am concerned, there is no justification for what this university is doing so pipe all your platitudes in someone else’s ears!

  31. I rarely comment, but this is outrageous. In support of all the information already put forth in comments, and being from Northeast Florida, I will make it a point to tell everyone I know about the abuse at GRU. Word of mouth is still a strong form of protest. And as far as the USDA and FDA, well we all know how corrupt government is. This means nothing. Enough said there.

    It’s Sunday afternoon and I can still get quite a few emails out today letting others know about this horrific place of “research.”

  32. It’s just disgusting. I won’t be back to the school for future dental work.

  33. Please stop being hateful towards the dental students. As a recent grad, I can speak from personal experience that the students have nothing to do with this. In fact we are too busy working and studying and serving the community to have any kind of life. Don’t take your anger out on the very people who offer premium dental care for people who cannot afford it anywhere else. The students work too hard to that…. GRU is a great school besides having a really idiotic name. They made me the dentist I am today. Thanks!

    • K.P. is SO RIGHT!

      I work at GRU and knew nothing of the mistreatment of research animals until the Humane Society’s report. The GRU campus is so large that all employees are not all privy to what occurs throughout the entire campus.

      Our teaching is second to none…in all areas of academia: nursing, allied health, medicine, dentistry, graduate, and undergraduate, etc.

      Our patient care is exceptional…in all aspects of patient care: children’s hospital, medical center, cancer center, dentistry, and outpatient clinics, etc.

      Instead of refusing to receive care at or be educated by GRU, let’s work together to ensure maltreatment of research animals never happens again.

      Let’s work together to right this wrong for all research animals!

  34. GRU should be ashamed of themselves letting this go on. Perfectly healthy dogs. The senior vp writes a statement trying to justify, when really it is for his job. I hope you get the fullest extent of the law possible!!!!

  35. Noting the justification provided for using dogs/animals for research purposes I’m assuming the doctor and any others who support the use of animals in research have absolutely no problem in offering up their own pets for the purpose of advancing science? Or is that different because there is the perception that more value is attached to their animals because they are owned?

  36. Cruelty is cruelty. These experiments are unnecessary and perverse. I hope that students that understand the loving nature of dogs will attend a different university. This one sounds like it is run by people lacking the moral values needed to finish a students quality training.

  37. The dog looks clearly distressed and abused in the video and is underweight. Regardless of how you treat the animals and where they come from or what regulations you met, your use of this form of research shows that your school is out of date. Plenty of alternative means exist. I will never purchase another product made in the state of Georgia or visit your city again and will encourage everyone I know to do the same until you change your program. Let everybody in your entire state suffer, too, then.

  38. To the University, Even if justified, it is still disturbing. I don’t think that in this day and age, what you are doing with the animals is anything that couldn’t be done on animals that were euthanized from a shelter. Use dogs that are already deceased rather than obtaining them to do this. I really don’t think having to work on a live one is necessary. It’s really sad and I hope you reconsider.

  39. I think the very rare defenders here are missing the point. It’s not about complying with regulations. It’s about what’s right and what’s wrong. This testing is just plain wrong.

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