LANSING, Mich., May 9, 2022 — Today, Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an opinion stating that Michigan universities should cease cruel and inhumane testing on dogs and establish clear guidelines for conducting any future experiments. The opinion follows efforts by state Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) and state Sens. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and Paul Wojno (D-Warren) to ban the practice. Koleszar submitted the informal request to Nessel following public outrage over a controversial Wayne State University study. For over three decades, WSU has used dogs as test subjects in a study looking into heart failure and hypertension that has resulted in the death of at least 136 dogs.
“There is no need to continue such cruel, inhumane and unconstitutional treatment of these animals, especially when over 30 years of research has failed to bear any fruit,” Koleszar said. “Having guidelines spelled out in order to ensure inhumane experiments on dogs do not happen is excellent news for dogs and everyone who loves them.”
In April, Koleszar and Polehanki joined protesters gathered outside of the WSU facility where the research is being conducted to demand the university end the research. Polehanki and Koleszar also co-authored a letter to the National Institutes of Health, the study’s source of funding, urging them to end their backing of the research. The study, which has cost taxpayers $15 million so far, has yet to yield any actionable results.
“I look forward to Wayne State University having to comply with the new rules set forth by MDHHS. Hopefully, the end result of this failed dog experiment will be that it must be shut down,” Polehanki said. “I thank Attorney General Nessel for weighing in and determining that inhumane dog experiments should be prohibited in Michigan. I look forward to the state properly overseeing research facilities, and ensuring any future tests have a clear purpose and do not cause undue harm to these dogs.”
Wojno sponsored Senate Bill 582, which would prohibit a public body from conducting research or training on dogs that causes extreme pain or distress. As part of their efforts, Polehanki also wrote a letter, which both Koleszar and Wojno signed, asking WSU to put an end to the animal testing. WSU remains committed to supporting their research.
“I applaud my colleagues and the attorney general for clarifying the intent of the Legislature to regulate long-running concerns about painful experiments conducted on companion animals, primarily dogs, at Michigan’s publicly funded universities, which have not resulted in meaningful scientific breakthroughs,” Wojno said. “We know this little-publicized practice is highly concerning to the public and feel the passage of legislation and this attorney general’s opinion are meaningful steps forward for how we treat animals in this state.”