Burn Pit Roundtable

Roundtable: VA/DoD Animal Testing Not ‘Valid’ For Burn Pit Exposure

Burn Pit Roundtable

Numerous veterans rights activists spoke out in a burn pit exposure roundtable held by Military Network Radio and host Linda Kreter.

Participants on the show included Lauren Price, head of Veteran Warriors, Jessey Baca and attorney Benjamin Krause (me). Topics covered personal impacts of burn pit toxins, policy concerns, and the upcoming documentary on burn pits “Delay, Deny, Hope You Die.”

Listen: Burn Pits, Policy & Animal Testing

According to Military Network Radio:

Our three experts: Navy veteran Lauren Price, CEO of Veteran Warriors, Ben Krause, attorney and investigative reporter, and veteran Jessey Baca join our roundtable discussion today. Burn Pits refers to the open-air burning of plastics, medical waste, human waste, batteries, and trash, often fueled by JP8 (jet fuel) – creating noxious fumes breathed by tens of thousands of our troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Burn pits, existing at nearly every FOB and studied at larger ones, appear to increase respiratory illness and deleterious quality of life among those deployed – and their families.

Precautions were few and medical cases rose in 2008. There is a VA Burn Pit Registry and examinations may be made, but like generations before them, information is not routinely included in medical records and some conditions are terminal. Quickly. Learn more about Burn Pits, legislation needed, teratogenic effects (birth defects in children), confirmed dioxin exposure, and please share this information with those who may not connect their service to these conditions.

Veterans Warriors Highlights Animal Research

Recently, Veterans Warriors highlighted a double standard on VA animal research I uncovered while creating a presentation for County Veteran Service Officers where VA flip-flopped on whether animal research is valid.

For some quick background, last month, in an op-ed, Secretary Shulkin promised disabled veterans will benefit from VA continuing its canine research program.

Seems strange, right?

Apparently, what Shulkin meant is veterans benefit from allowing VA to cut up animals (specifically dogs). He left out that the supposed benefit to veterans was more of a trickle-down benefit because the research does not directly help veterans, kind of like how tax cuts for the rich really do not directly help the poor and middle class.

You see, the research Shulkin was lauding is largely funded or used by for-profit companies like Medtronic. Meanwhile, the agency claims animal research is invalid for research allowing presumptive service-connection for veterans exposed to burn pits.


  • For-profit research indirectly helping veterans = valid.
  • Nonprofit research directly helping veterans = invalid.

See the huge benefit for veterans from VA dog research that takes up VA budget and research resources?

Here is the recent newsletter discussing this issue Veterans Warriors drafted in response to my request for comment on the double standard and animal research:

VA/DoD animal testing not “valid” for burn pit exposures

Recently, it came to light that the VA uses animals for medical testing. While many find this practice egregious in its own right, we have now discovered that the VA and the Institute of Medicine are REFUSING to utilize animals for any testing that would identify and confirm that exposures to burn pit emissions is lethal to humans. They both go so far as to deny this particular form of testing that may provide a clear path of service-connection for the hundreds of thousands of affected veterans.

The DoD and VA are systematically denying all connections between the use of open-air burn pits in combat zones; and over 100,000 U.S. service members falling ill from “unexplainable” diseases. Thousands have succumbed to their injuries, yet their families are still denied that closure of the federal government accepting responsibility for their actions. 

It is not the first time that the VA has spoken out of both sides of its proverbial face. Secretary David Shulkin openly defends the practice of utilizing animals for medical testing; “…If this legislation passes the Senate, it would stop potential VA canine research-related medical advancements that offer seriously disabled veterans the hope of a better future…”.

He actually mentions specific studies they are conducting into respiratory ailments, (one of the many injuries from burn pit exposures that the VA continues to deny service connection for); “…VA’s canine research program represents a great example of why the department exists, as one of our current canine research studies illustrates. The study focuses on ways to prevent serious and potentially fatal lung infections that affect some veterans with spinal cord injuries because they are unable to cough effectively…”.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/09/12/secretary-veterans-affairs-canine-research-too-important-end-david-shulkin-column/654259001/

Over seven years ago, the VA’s own (former) policy director issued the Environmental Training Letter. That document specifically outlines the claim and healthcare processes for all veterans exposed to burn pits. To date, less than a handful of affected veterans have actually been successfully rated for “burn pit exposures”. 

The VA and the DoD have colluded for more than a decade to deny injured veterans benefits after they were exposed to toxic emissions. Now the VA wants to keep its animal testing privileges’ but STILL refuses to consider that these very same tests would be “valid” in consideration of burn pit exposures. We can only wonder when our nation will decide that the VA cannot have its cake and eat it too.

New Republic On VA Ignoring Animal Research

Journalistic research on this top was flushed out by the New Republic last November when addressing the scope of toxins in burn pits and agency attempts to cover up research that otherwise would allow service-connection on a presumptive basis.

In the following excerpt, just note the Institute of Medicine (IOM) was renamed the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academy of Medicine:

Faced with a lack of accurate data on human exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan, HMD had a clear alternative, one that would meet the prevailing scientific standard for such research: a review of toxicity studies on animals. While such a review would not be comprehensive, it would help determine whether burn pits had made soldiers sick. That, in turn, would allow veterans to know if their ailments were service-related, which would force the VA to provide them with treatment and disability. But instead of following established scientific protocol, HMD made a decision that fatally undercut its findings: It refused to consider animal studies in reaching its conclusions.

HMD researchers had been working for years to skew their studies in favor of the VA. In 1994, when HMD published its first study on the impact of Agent Orange on U.S. soldiers, its own research standards required it to rely on both human and animal studies. That study confirmed a link between Agent Orange, a military herbicide, and widespread health problems among Vietnam vets.

By 1998, though, when HMD began its studies of Gulf War exposures, it had made a subtle but significant change to its standards for “categories of evidence.” Animal studies could still be discussed in its reports, but they were no longer considered valid evidence as part of its final conclusions. The science, in short, was being rigged to reach a desired outcome.

That is right. VA acknowledged that animal research, including canine research, was valid for causality for presumptive service-connection for Agent Orange exposure and dioxins.

Based on the HMD reversal, VA refuses to acknowledge the validity of animal research, including canine research, when addressing the same dioxins in the burn pits. Now, the agency will not recognize the research as being valid.

That same research, or at least the logic and scientific method behind it, is apparently valid when conducting for-profit research to help private industry patent and certify inventions used for the public.

A New Republic reporter asked HMD about its methodology, but the agency said it would be too hard and expensive to conduct the research:

In an email to the New Republic, HMD defended its methodology. It cited the complex mix of chemicals released by the burn pits, and said that it did not know “if the black smoke that everyone complained about had been sampled.” While it would have been “nice,” HMD added, to have reliable studies in which animals were exposed to burn-pit emissions with the same intensity and frequency as soldiers, “these types of studies are difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to conduct.”

Here’s the rub. VA will consider animal research including that on canines as being valid only for FDA approval and patents supporting for-profit purposes.

VA will consider animal research including that on canines as being valid only for FDA approval and patents supporting for-profit purposes. For veterans desperately needing service-connection for disability from burn pit exposures, that research is no longer valid.

Source: https://militarynetworkradio.com/2017/10/burn-pits-the-facts-the-future/

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  1. No test are needed, everyone knows combustion creates dioxin. The Institute of Medicine did a review of the incinerator outside of NAF Atsugi advising the VA Secretary of the dangers, and numerous other municipalities have reviewed the waste of their own incinerators. Common denominator? Dioxin. When you go to fire fighting school, what’s the first thing they tell you? The smoke and fire contains toxic fumes, but they don’t tell you is the chemical make up.. In addition to dioxin, it would depend largely on the composition of the materials being burned. But you’ll likely find some that are carcinogenic.

  2. So, it’s okay for Pig Pharma to use pig valves in a human chest, but heaven forbid using animal research for veteran issues. Loves me some flag wavin democracy – yessir. What say we go bomb some more brown people?

  3. Perhaps if we set up an authentic burn pit at Wimbledon with The Little Mermaid in the center of the burn to focus attention properly, we could indeed test burn pit toxicity on human subjects? This of course would only duplicate the thousands of tests done on thousands of soldiers out in the field in the course of engaging in a research protocol generally not followed by VA folks since the beginning; “They were doing their duty and following orders.”

    I suggest the European site for this research because these places are deemed “ethical” institutions by VA to spend money otherwise allocated by The People in expense of investigating veterans healthcare issues, and because I know full well that VA has complete and unfettered access to those resources at the very highest levels.

    Now just how on Earth could we convince The Commonwealth to allow us to knowingly conduct such immoral research? Simple my American brothers and sisters! I happen to know that my ancestors left The Commonwealth over two hundred years ago, and NOT because the voyage was casual and pleasant! They left that place because the government there is corrupt and they were sick of choking on vile and wormy news for generations that the rich were screwing the poor – and my brothers and sisters if you ain’t called “Mr. Chairman”, “Your Majesty”, or “Your Honor” then over there YOU AINT RICH. True dat, and trust me when corruption has had that long to thrive you can buy just about any law you want.

    I sure am glad I live here in America… Mr. President, care to chime in? Congressman? No? How about you Secretary Shulkin?

    1. The clay-paved tennis courts of Wimbledon would make for an ideal burn bit. We would have to have The Little Mermaid inside a clear canister containing some bright toxic and flammable DoD waste sitting atop the burning pile before she explodes like a phoenix into flames for all the uptight blokes, splashing uptight blokes, creating a DoD permanent Joker’s Smile on all their faces.

  4. Seymore and ALL veterans,
    Check out these Two articles out from, “Military.com/daily news”, Dated; 4 Oct 2017.
    “VA Photo ID Cards for All Veterans Coming in November”
    military.com | by Amy Bushatz

    “Vets Sue Defense Department over 1966 Spain H-Bomb Mishap!”
    Associated Press | by Dave Collins

  5. This all comes down to control of oodles of unaccountable nor easily traceable massive taxpayer $$$$ given under the false trust premise, “[…to assist and serve our Veterans…”, and sadly, we Veterans have less rights than the canines the VA experiments on.
    However, stock futures on toe-tag and body bag manufacturers are up, thanks again to our nonhuman test subjects known as Veterans…and their little canines, too! RAND reports all the flying monkeys are happy as the wizard takes a nap in the poppy fields.

    1. Note: The VA has indeed been “assisting and serving” over the years and platter is a foul deal, but it tastes *just like* chicken! 🙂

  6. “Valid” or “Invalid”! VA AND the DOD doesn’t give a rats ass about veterans health issues! All they care about is pilfering taxpayers monies into their pockets!!!!!! How else can TENS OF BILLIONS of taxpayers monies be spent so quickly by ONE government agency? Talk about disrespecting both taxpayers and disabled veterans!

    That’s being said, I find it typical of Shulkin, or any upper management personnel, to state: quote: “these types of studies are difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to conduct.”
    All while, in Afghanistan, a “difficult” (as was the Vietnam War!), “expensive” (TRILLIONS of taxpayers dollars has been spent with NO foreseeable outcome!) “and time-consuming” (16+ years so far!), war is being fought!

  7. 10/05/2017

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    Management will not change until you kick half of them out.

    Management, they, will tell you stories forever about how good it will get and years later it will be the same.

    Sounds like the Factory I had to walk away from for the Sixth time making AR-15 Components; Nice Factory [second relocation I was involved in] finally but the management stayed the same—I was positioned in Sales for under 3 week [third time] and Panic hit Management causing them to put me on their newest 5 axis Haas machine to rescue the company [9 MM Upper Receiver].

    Management will always create panics and divert people’s attention away from critical issues of safety and common sense.

    Where is the CDC?


    Don Karg

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