Imagine that your sibling or fave cousin gets all the love and attention from your family members while they hardly remember that you even exist. Sounds awful, right? For golden retrievers stuck in a laboratory at Texas A&M University (TAMU), the reality is so much worse—while the school’s collie mascot is pampered and cared for, golden retrievers in TAMU’s lab lead miserably short, very painful lives.

Last month, the Twitter account for Reveille IX put up photos of TAMU’s beloved collie mascot lying on the lush grass in front of the university stadium, wearing a beautiful satin cape with the TAMU logo. While the photos of the “First Lady of Aggieland” look great, it’s impossible to deny the huge difference between those photos and the utterly heartbreaking ones of crippled retrievers who suffer behind closed doors at the university’s dog laboratory.

In the lab, experimenters breed the golden retrievers to develop a painful, debilitating canine form of muscular dystrophy.

Unlike Reveille, who apparently spends a lot of time outdoors—attending TAMU athletic events, walking around campus, and even taking trips across the country—Jelly did not play outside. She was forced to spend her whole life caged in barren labs. Even if the lab staff allowed her outside, she wouldn’t have been able to run or play like a normal puppy. Jelly’s growth was stunted early on likely because of an inability to suckle properly. She also suffered from degeneration and atrophied leg muscles, which caused an abnormal stance that made her walk stiffly and awkwardly.

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Peony, another dog suffering from GRMD at TAMU, clearly looked scared, sad, alone, and extremely underweight. Her enlarged tongue, caused by the disease, made her salivate uncontrollably. This made it very hard for her to swallow, breathe, and eat. At 21 months old, she weighed less than 30 pounds, when the average weight for healthy female golden retrievers at this age is 55 to 70 pounds. After a short life filled with repeated experiments, pain, and suffering, Peony was euthanized on March 5, 2013, two months shy of her second birthday.

Texas A&M University’s Collie and Dogs in TAMU’s Labs Share One Thing in Common

Reveille IX’s life as a seemingly happy, healthy collie is obviously very different from Peony’s and Jelly’s lives spent in barren labs, suffering from tremendous amounts of pain, sadness, and loneliness. However, they’re all being used by the university. In their own words, Reveille IX’s original guardians “were happy to donate her to Texas A&M.” Last time we checked, a dog isn’t a piece of equipment or a cash donation.

 

Joe Kornegay has been experimenting on dogs for 35 years—the last five at TAMU—and the school has been using dogs as live mascots since 1931. Animals are not ours to experiment on or use for entertainment. TAMU must end this cruelty now.

texas a&m university animal testing

What You Can Do to Help

Please urge TAMU to close its dog laboratories, to stop breeding dogs to be afflicted with muscular dystrophy, and to release all dogs for adoption into good permanent homes. These experiments are useless and extremely painful for these animals, and it’s high time that TAMU redirected its resources toward humane research methods.