WSU Statement

In recent years, a group dedicated to ending animal research of any kind, a viewpoint unsupported by many organizations including the American Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, has alleged that Wayne State researchers mistreat animals. Wayne State strongly refutes that allegation and has repeatedly proven it to be false.

The animal laboratories at Wayne State are subject to surprise inspections, veterinary oversight, and intense scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; our record is exemplary.

Wayne State is committed to the protection of animals, but also recognizes the benefits of research involving animals. Animal research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century - for both human and animal health. From antibiotics to blood transfusions, from dialysis to chemotherapy, bypass surgery and joint replacement, practically every present-day protocol for the prevention, treatment, cure and control of disease, pain and suffering is based on knowledge attained through research with animals.

Regarding dogs being used in research, every winter we hear about someone having a heart attack while shoveling snow. Researchers at Wayne State have established that for people with hypertension and heart failure the sensory nerves of their exercising muscles become over-activated. The studies have further established that those over-activated nerves cause the brain to stimulate other nerves going to the coronary arteries, causing them to constrict and decrease the flow of oxygen to the heart. This causes the heart to fail even more which can trigger a fatal heart attack. Wayne State research suggests that hypertensive patients may be able to exercise better and more safely by blocking the effects of the nerves going to the heart or by quieting the sensory nerves of the exercising muscle. Therapies to promote the desired effects on the sensory and coronary nerves are now being investigated. 

The world's most eminent experts in clinical and translational cardiovascular sciences sitting on National Institutes of Health panels rate the research as highly important. The NIH has funded the research continually for more than 20 years because its scientists view Wayne State's research data and peer-reviewed journal articles as valuable contributions to cardiovascular research. Only the very top 10 percent or less of all NIH grants in this field are funded, so if the research was not productive it would not receive the competitive funding. The NIH's cardiovascular experts are far more qualified to judge the quality of scientific research than activists who have an agenda.

Science advances by building upon existing research data and literature, and the work being done in the Wayne State labs is doing that. The research with dogs is being incorporated into new strategies for the treatment of congestive heart failure and hypertension. Heart disease is the number one killer in America, so the odds are this research will benefit your health or the lives of your loved ones.

Wayne State University is committed to ensuring that all research and teaching protocols using live animals are designed and carried out in a humane manner that complies with all laws, policies and guidelines. The university has the highest level of ethical standards in conducting biomedical research, as well as the highest level of care for animals used in research, and has been accredited by the Association of Assessment and Accreditation for Laboratory Animal Care International since its inception.

The university strictly adheres to the policy of using only as many animals as reasonably necessary, minimizing pain and distress, and using alternatives whenever feasible.

Contact info

Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845