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Video footage reveals that out of public view at France's Alfort National Veterinary School, dogs are deliberately bred to develop crippling muscle diseases.
The footage given to PETA France by the group Animal Testing reveals that the dogs struggle to walk, swallow, and even breathe.
Breeding Pain and Misery in a French Laboratory
The dogs are genetically prone to different types of muscular dystrophy (MD), including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which is particularly severe. These diseases ravage their bodies and are characterised by progressive muscle wasting and weakness. Most dogs never reach adulthood. Some are completely crippled before they even reach 6 months old, and half endure agonising deaths before the age of 10 months.
The heart-breaking video footage shot inside a laboratory in Alfort shows dogs having difficulty swallowing, breathing, and walking as their muscles continue to weaken. Drool drips from the mouths of dogs whose jaw muscles have deteriorated. One dog had so much difficulty eating and holding down his food because of the progressive weakening of his oesophageal muscles that vomit covered his face.
Some dogs eventually lose their ability to eat and must then be fed through a stomach tube. Surviving dogs will develop heart problems as the disease attacks and weakens the cardiac muscle.
A laboratory employee admitted that the dogs suffer. He said, "I wouldn't like to be in the beagle's place. The suffering is real."
What have these painful experiments accomplished? After decades of testing on generations of debilitated and suffering dogs, there is still no cure or treatment to reverse the course of this terrible disease in humans. So children afflicted with DMD continue to suffer.
Analysis of MD studies using dogs has shown that there are serious pitfalls when trying to apply those results to humans. In fact, there are even studies that have produced the opposite results in humans. There are better ways to help patients with muscle diseases. Cutting-edge techniques, such as utilising stem cells from DMD patients to develop disease-specific cures, developing ways to grow healthy human muscle cells that could be transplanted into patients with MD, and creating human-relevant drug-screening platforms, have led to the development of more promising therapies.
Téléthon: Helping or Hurting?
The experiments at Alfort are funded by the French charity AFM-Téléthon. However, a laboratory representative admits that they could lose funding if the public were to see the condition of the dogs. "There's no question that if we showed them our myopathic dogs, we would risk losing a lot of money." As well they should.
Please sign our petition to Téléthon urging the charity to stop funding these cruel experiments on dogs and to support only modern, non-animal studies.