An animal rights group launched a billboard campaign on Monday accusing the Department of Veterans Affairs of unethically experimenting on dogs and offering $1,000 rewards to VA whistleblowers who come forward with any information about these practices.
The White Coat Waste Project, founded by a former Republican strategist, says the VA, one of the largest federal bureaucracies, unnecessarily abuses dogs by using them as tests for medical procedures.
The group released department documents that it says show that Hunter Holmes McGuire VA medical center in Richmond, Va., broke regulations through the inhumane treatment of dog test subjects. The violations included fatal VA surgeries and the laceration of one dog's lung during a heart operation.
The first of its billboards targets Louis Stokes VA medical center in Cleveland, which the group says has spent thousands of dollars to purchase dogs for testing. Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy at the White Coat Waste Project, said billboards are planned for Richmond, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.
VA employees are being targeted on Facebook with an ad offering a $1,000 reward for whistleblowers with information on dogs subject to painful experiments or that have been killed by botched surgeries.
The VA could not be reached for comment.