PETA protests speaker from Texas A&M

Animal rights activist lined up outside of Trotter Hall on Feb. 20 to spread awareness on the dog testing labs located at Texas A&M where a featured speaker is from. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Protesters representing the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals gathered near Trotter Hall to protest against Peter Nghiem from Texas A&M University. Nghiem, who conducts muscular dystrophy research on golden retrievers at Texas A&M, spoke as part of Kansas State’s spring 2020 Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology seminar series.

Jonathan Horn, assistant campaigner for PETA, said dozens of dogs are currently suffering in labs at Texas A&M under Nghiem.

“These dogs were purposely bred to have muscular dystrophy, which means that they struggled to walk, eat and even breathe. Many of them suffer from heart failure and breathing conditions, and most of them die or [are] killed before they even reach their second birthday,” Horn said. “Their mouths are unable to close so drool is dripping off their mouths. They’re stuck in barren metal cages with no bedding, nothing to comfort them, they’re left completely alone in those cages, and the only time they’re taken out is when they’re being experimented upon and cruel experiments.”

He went on to say that humans and dogs are very different when it comes to biology.

“In fact, the vast majority of clinical studies that passed in animal experiments don’t pass in human experiments because dogs are nothing like humans.” Horn said. “We are so different from other species that we have to throw away most of that data anyway.”

Horn believes the experiments done by Nghiem are a waste of money, and that the dog lab should be shut down. He said the money should be reallocated to human-centered research that would be more beneficial to people with muscular dystrophy.

“There are scientists right now that are growing healthy human muscle tissue that they can then implement in people with muscular dystrophy,” he said. “They’re also working on genetic therapies and doing research on the cells of people with muscular dystrophy.”