The L.A. Confidential star signed on to narrate the short film for The Humane Society of the United States, whose campaigners captured undercover footage at a facility run by Georgia Regents University over the course of three months. In the film, dogs allegedly purchased from dealers are used for exploratory operations, after which they are often killed.
"Dogs like Shy Guy, along with others, who may have been family pets, were all used for unnecessary dental experiments. Their teeth were pulled out and replaced. It's very painful, just look into their eyes. This is a glimpse of what happens behind closed doors at GRU. These dogs were killed for this little sample of their jaw bone.
"Each year in the United States, 65,000 dogs are used in labs. Let's start by protecting dogs like Shy Guy from the hands of unscrupulous dealers and unnecessary suffering."
Animal rights campaigners are hoping the expose will put pressure on GRU officials to stop buying innocent dogs from unlicensed dealers, known for animal welfare violations, and urge them to halt the painful pet experiments once and for all.
The experiments were being done to compare a dental implant that was invented by Georgia Regents researchers with one that was developed by a competitor, Twining said.
Dogs that were provided to the university were collected by a Random Source Class-B Dealer, Twining said. She said these types of dealers are allowed to gather animals from various sources — including auctions, online and shelters — and resell them to research facilities.
University Senior Vice President for Research Mark Hamrick said in a statement that researchers at the Augusta school use protocols that are regularly reviewed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and that the university adheres to local, state and federal guidelines.
The school doesn’t frequently use dogs for research and all projects involving animals are reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Hamrick said.
“The research being done with dogs is neither frivolous nor unnecessary, as alleged by the investigation, and is performed in order to develop safe, effective dental procedures for people,” Hamrick said. “As an institution, we are committed to research that will provide a direct benefit to patient lives by restoring function to damaged and diseased organs and tissues,” he said.
The Humane Society of the United States has filed legal complaints with the USDA and the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, Twining said.