Two protests have been scheduled in response to a Humane Society investigation that found questionable practices in a Georgia Regents University dental implant experiment on dogs.
Both aim to raise awareness on unnecessary animal testing, specifically for cosmetic purposes, and to push GRU to discontinue the practice.
The first will be held 11 a.m. Friday at the corner of Laney-Walker Boulevard and 15th Street, and is organized primarily by the local group Helping Animal Rights Through Education, or HART.
HART member Kane Taylor, 25, said using animals for research on dental implants is unjustifiable because there are already implants approved by the Food and Drug Administration available for patients.
“It seems almost silly the way they are going about this,” Taylor said. “Sadly this has gotten a lot of people riled up because it’s dogs, but this happens too often.”
A second protest scheduled for Dec. 7 is being called “The Million Dog Walk on GRU Dental.”
Organizer Dennis Briatico, 36, said the march will begin at 11th and Broad Streets at 10 a.m. and continue on to the GRU dental school.
Briatico is urging as many people as possible to bring their leashed dogs on the march and to make a “peaceful statement.” He said support has been rallied through social media, and about 7,000 have been invited on Facebook.
“I am not a radical (animal rights activist), and I’m not even against animal testing, but it was inhumane in this case what they did,” Briatico said. “My main issue is this is something that’s been cleared already and they are still testing.”
The Humane Society of the United States investigation released Wednesday showed GRU purchased six hound dogs from a dealer who has been repeatedly cited by the United States Department of Agriculture and is currently under investigation for violating the Animal Welfare Act.
The investigation also questioned whether GRU received proper approval to conduct these dental implant experiments. The animal rights group filed a public records request for the required protocol, which involves getting an experiment approved by an internal committee.
The first protocol provided by GRU was outdated, and the second showed researchers did not take the required step of looking for alternative methods without using animals until after the experiment was completed and the dogs were euthanized.