At Texas A&M University, experimenters led by Joe Kornegay breed golden retrievers to develop different types of muscular dystrophy (MD), including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which is particularly severe. These diseases ravage their bodies, causing progressive muscle wasting and weakness. Studies with these dogs haven’t led to a cure or even a treatment to reverse disease symptoms.
Video footage shows that Kornegay’s appallingly thin dogs were caged, sometimes alone, in barren metal cells and struggled to swallow thin gruel—the only food that they could eat, given how easily they could choke. Long ropes of saliva hung from the mouths of dogs whose jaw muscles had weakened. Even balancing was difficult. Dogs with this condition are also at great risk for pneumonia because they can easily inhale liquid into their lungs.
Dogs who didn’t have the disease but carried the DMD gene were used for breeding. Deprived of loving homes, they frantically paced the slatted floors and bit the bars of small cages in frustration. They didn’t even have the comfort of a blanket.
To gauge just how much a dog’s muscles have deteriorated, Kornegay has invented a crude technique that could pass for medieval torture: He repeatedly stretches them with a motorized lever in order to cause muscle tears.
Kornegay has been at this for more than 30 years. Puppies in his laboratory who are born with DMD are so weak at birth that they require extra nutrition. By 6 weeks of age, their hind limbs have shifted forward, making walking difficult, and some are unable to open their mouths or jaws.
You Can Help Stop This!
Please urge Texas A&M University to close their dog laboratories, stop breeding MD dogs, release all dogs for adoption into good homes, and redirect their resources into humane research methods.