Two experiments on dogs funded by the French myopathy association AFM-Téléthon have been linked to the deaths of at least four boys under 5 years old. We hope these heartbreaking events have been a wake-up call for the charity.
PETA France has renewed its calls for the organisation immediately to end the funding of cruel, dangerous experiments on dogs in a letter to its president.
The Danger of Experimenting on Dogs
Studying myopathies in dogs is like using a map of Paris to find your way around London – it’s not the same disease in dogs as it is in humans.
According to records, AFM-Téléthon funded tests for a drug aimed at treating myotubular myopathy – a rare disease that, like muscular dystrophy (MD), causes muscle weakness – on 10-week-old beagador (Labrador-beagle mix) puppies. Each puppy was injected with the drug, killed four to six weeks later, and dissected. None of the dogs showed signs of liver toxicity, but when the drug was given to children in a clinical trial, four of them died of liver failure. The trial has been halted.
In another test funded by AFM-Téléthon for a drug to treat MD, experimenters injected 4-month-old golden retriever puppies with the drug and killed them three months to two years later. The drug was then given to boys aged 6 to 10 years old, but that trial was temporarily suspended in the first month due to an unspecified “serious adverse event” in one of the patients.
PETA entities are urging AFM-Téléthon to stop tormenting dogs and start funding modern research that will actually help human patients instead of harming them.
Puppies Living in a Real-Life Horror Film
The group Animal Testing previously provided PETA France with video footage from inside a laboratory funded by AFM-Téléthon at the National Veterinary School of Alfort. Within its walls, dogs are bred to develop a crippling and painful form of canine MD that humans do not get.
Many of the dogs struggle to walk, swallow, and even breathe, and many become fully paralysed by the time they are just 10 months old.
A laboratory representative admitted that if the public saw how the dogs suffer, the experiments – which, after 40 years, have not resulted in a cure for MD – would lose their funding.
Adoption of Non-Animal Testing
There are better ways to help people with MD. For example, scientists are using cells from human patients with MD to develop treatments or designing methods to grow healthy human muscle cells that could be transplanted into patients.
Servane Barbot, who is living with MD, has publicly denounced the cruelty and ineffectiveness of using dogs in MD experiments and previously called on the French charity to fund only non-animal research. MD patients Pascaline Wittkowski and Johnathon Byrne also spoke out against the use of animals in 2017.
Following a robust PETA US campaign, Texas A&M University agreed to shut down its canine MD laboratory, in which similar cruel tests were conducted on dogs, and release all surviving, healthy dogs for adoption into loving homes.
It’s high time AFM-Téléthon pulled its funding and urged the laboratories involved to rehome the surviving dogs.
These experiments are not helping humans living with MD, and they’re inflicting suffering on countless puppies. Please join us in urging AFM-Téléthon to stop funding these cruel experiments on dogs and to support only modern, non-animal studies: