Ga. school shifting animal research policy

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Regents University officials say they’re changing the way they gather animals for research purposes after The Humane Society of the United States said in November that the school had been buying dogs to test human dental implants from Class B dealers, which are allowed to gather animals from shelters and random sources. Animal welfare activists have said dogs in the program had their teeth pulled and replaced with implants before they were euthanized.

The National Institutes of Health has prohibited funding research projects that use animals purchased from Class B vendors.

University officials have said the testing program was regularly reviewed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the university adheres to local, state and federal guidelines.

The school will now use Class A dealers, who gather animals from private sources or animals that are bred specifically to participate in clinical trials, GRU spokeswoman Kelly Jasper said in a statement.

“We applaud this decision by GRU to stop business dealings with unscrupulous dog dealers,” Kathleen Conlee, vice president of Animal Research Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “We will continue to urge the university to make changes on other fronts, including an end to dental experiments on dogs.”

News of the dental implant program sparked protests among animal welfare activists in the Augusta area in December. One of the demonstrations’ organizers, Dennis Briatico, 36, told the Augusta Chronicle (http://bit.ly/K0G2Rs ) he’s planning another rally in mid-February to promote animal rescue and adoption.

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