Greyhound dog

Victoria’s gruesome record for fatal experimentation on greyhounds is continuing, with Monash University researchers publishing a paper on how they suffocated dogs, then revived them and killed them again.

A team of researchers at Monash and the Alfred Hospital led by Professor Frank Rosenfeldt, head of cardiothoracic surgical research, used greyhounds for heart transplant storage experiments, according to a paper published earlier this year in The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

The experiment involved chemically restraining the dogs using acetylpromazine, then anaesthetising them and placing them on ventilation. Ventilation was then shut down to suffocate the dogs, after which their hearts were removed, preserved for four hours, then transplanted, after which the greyhounds were briefly monitored, then killed (again).

The experiment has come to light amid continuing controversy over the use of dogs in medical and dental experiments in Victoria. Last year the University of Melbourne’s Dental School was revealed to have undertaken a shocking experiment on greyhounds involving teeth implants. Greyhounds are a particular favourite of medical researchers due to their ready availability: the greyhound racing industry has a massive “wastage” problem of tens of thousands of unwanted dogs across Australia.

The Victorian government has rejected calls to close the greyhound racing industry despite NSW and the ACT shutting it down in the wake of horrific reports of animal abuse and slaughter and attempts by the industry to cover up its abuses. The board of Greyhound Racing Victoria was forced to resign in disgrace after the ABC’s 4 Corners “Making a Killing” story in February 2015, but the Victorian government insists the industry has now overcome any problems. The Victorian industry is estimated to produced over 6500 dogs a year, the majority of which end up unwanted and treated as “wastage”, with a small proportion re-homed and the majority killed or provided for medical experimentation. Researchers like the Monash team are guaranteed a steady supply of canine subjects for years to come.

Monash University did not respond to Crikey’s request for a response.

Peter Fray

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