VA Secretary VA Canine Research

VA Secretary No Longer ‘Strong Believer In The Need For Canine Research’

VA Secretary David Shulkin has reversed course on the agency’s canine research and now oversees all approval for new programs following public outcry.

The new position follows almost one year of intense public pushback opposing continued use of taxpayer dollars and VA resources to perform research. That research frequently benefits private industry, like foreign-based Medtronic, and civilians suffering from illnesses not impacting the general veteran population.

Now, the agency not only requires additional levels of review not previously required, but Shulkin himself states doubts as to the necessity for continued VA canine research.

In an internal memo provided to another news media outlet regarding the new VA canine research protocols, it states:

“To address recent public and Congressional concerns about VA canine research, VA is expanding the secretary review mechanism to all canine research performed in VA.”

This means the VA Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, Dr., Michael Fallon, must approve any new canine research. The VA Secretary now also requires review of all projects green-lighted by Dr. Fallon.

Shulkin was recently noted in an interview that he is ‘not a strong believer in the need for canine research,’ and he will be using ‘an extremely high threshold’ before approving any new dog research.

Dispute Over VA Canine Research Program

The VA Secretary’s position now is almost a total 180 from his position in a USA Today op-ed published under his name last September. In the op-ed titled “Disabled veterans need VA canine research to continue,” Shulkin said the program was necessary for disabled veterans to help address the needs of seriously disabled vets.

The op-ed, if you look into it, was a total spin piece lifted and then dressed from previously written propaganda supporting such research from the agency’s website. Reports later surfaced the poorly researched op-ed was actually written by VA internal renegade and subversive Curt Cashour, the present press secretary.

Cashour is noted for acts of subversion against Secretary Shulkin two weeks ago and is also noted as orchestrating set-ups of the Secretary to look poorly in the public light.

I wrote a response in The Hill hammering Shulkin (i.e. Cashour) for poor research while also highlighting VA canine research seems to consistently benefit non-veterans and corporate interests with a profit motive.

An organization called White Coats Waste Project has been consistent in pushing back against taxpayer funding of canine research including that conducted by VA, as has Rory Riley, another veterans advocate.

This reversal is no doubt the result of joint efforts opposing fraud, waste, and abuse of agency researchers.

So, kudos to us, and especially to you, my readers, for spreading the good news of accountability and transparency throughout the blogosphere.

VA needs to stop wasting resources on programs that are not directly linked to helping veterans, especially programs clearly aiding corporate profit motives.


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  1. Pernell Jackson, 56, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to making materially false statements in a matter involving the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

    Pernell Jackson’s aunt had died in 2007 and the VA continued to deposit her VA disability payments into her bank account until some time in 2014. During that time period Pernell withdrew the payments and used them for his own benefit.

    Between 2009 and 2014, Jackson resided in an apartment complex in Greece, NY and received a rent reduction through an income-based HUD subsidy program. During that time period, the defendant knowingly falsified HUD income certification forms by failing to report that he had obtained VA benefits belonging to his deceased aunt, totaling $102,622.76.

    So, in effect he stole a total of $143,671.86 from the VA. Rather than the VA prosecuting him for the theft he was charged with filing a false HUD subsidy program certificate for the unreported funds he had stolen.

    The Broken Justice System in America.

    Source: DOJ Press Release “Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To Making False Statements”, Monday, February 26, 2018

    Press Release at:

  2. To All; Statement; “You can do, believe, achieve what ever you want, but you sure as hell shouldn’t leave others behind. I wonder who this can be addressed too, any ideas of who?”

  3. Gunny, I don’t know if you’re replying to my post, in using my K9 for dual purposes, or to have my K9 to perform things that SUIT WHAT I KNOW TO BE MY NEEDS. I’ve found that the ADA sections are incomplete to certain degrees, as to NOT fitting to the needs of ALL the 21st Century Veterans. And, I have the right to train my K9, as long as it does no harm to ANYONE unless given a command to do so. Plus, I don’t trust the VA, and when threatened by the way I’ve been treated, and the trust being NON-EXISTENT, I’ll do as I very well please. And, for those who don’t understand why? I surely have the arguments, and not emotions, feelings, or warm and fuzzy comebacks, but I do have my ducks in a row, and welcome any challenges.

    I post the above because you said, “Enough said or some of the regulars will be calling Fire For Effect on me! ” And, the only regulars are on Ben’s blog. And I’m a regular. So, I love a good challenge when it comes down to K9’s, and all the things that they can do to help a Veteran. You know what, my K9 helps to take up the slack in what the VA not only doesn’t provide, but they don’t offer, talk about, bring up, or to even encourage me to obtain a dog. Damn, it took me talking to 3 people to get a letter stating NOT that a Dog would do me good, but the “the Veteran believes that a dog would do him good.” So what the hell is this all about.

    And, you expect me to bow down just because something is stated in the ADA guidelines for K9’s? Per me, its outdated, and I can prove such. No ill feelings here, and didn’t mean to bring any fire, because I need none with intelligent, solid, and validated arguments.

    I’ve read the other comments above, and just want to get a response in that pertains to selfish me.

  4. Well, it might be that he believes it’s more expedient to use sick veterans to run experiments on instead of canines since he hates vets….He’s probably a dog lover though.

  5. As one who’s been a fortunate recipient of a HIGHLY trained PTSD Service Dog from the first Organization to Officially train them, I’m a bit put off by some comments from within. Literally shaking my head – can’t ya tell? I’m a firm believer in this type of Service Animal for sure. However, some may need to re-review the specific Section of ADA Law pertaining to these particular animals.
    Enough said or some of the regulars will be calling Fire For Effect on me! ??

    1. Allow me to amend my statement above. The Org I obtained “Russell” from was not the very first to train PTSD Service Dogs. However, it was the first to be Federally Recognized!
      Additionally, here is the Section of ADA Law I spoke of above. Bet you didn’t know that “Miniature Horses” fell into this Category did ya? ?

      1. Damn auto-correction and slow speeds create both misspelled words and duplicate posts.
        My apologies folks!
        Semper Fidelis ! ??

    2. Hey Gunny, no offense, but don’t you think that the VA ought to get more involved in offering Service Dogs or animals, per the scientific research published in like papers, for the well-being of us who could benefit from such? I know so. And the VA strongly throws their lines by shouting out; “we provide Precision Medicine to our Veterans. We go by our Mission Statement to honor and to take care of those that need our services.”

      Holly bat crap VA, you couldn’t be further from missing the mark of your Policies, Guidelines, Rules, and Regs. But, make sure yo TRY to piss on us by threatening Veterans with the Disruptive Behavior Committee, and the threat of putting one on the EPERS list.

      “Watcha talking bout Willis?” lol, just razzing and joking with you with this last line, but the above is real, TRUTH.

  6. Could you imagine what kind of circuits would be blowing after data showing Fido was neutered was fed into Google’s DeepShit computer? And what treatment would be in store for you?

    Kudos to you Ben for reporting on and exposing this. It seriously should be a start of a top to bottom review of all VA research to uncover all of the nonsense going on that doesn’t benefit veterans.

  7. I’m glad SecVA Shulkin has managed to free up some belief power. Perhaps he could start believing in my fucking claim.

  8. In my opinion it should be illegal for a federal agency itself to engage in medical research at all. Any money deemed appropriate for research should be bid out in a competitive bidding process on the open research group market. Then The People control ethics by the laws already in place. Further the policies governing research no longer can be defined on the whim of one guy with the name Mr. Sec VA and instead are modified and maintained by direct representatives of The People via routinely held elections.

    “Research” in government context ALWAYS translates into “bottomless pit into which dollars are tossed”. “Research” in the public sector means you produce results or lose your dollars. It is a motivational concept and true.


    Thought I’d share this tidbit from a recent speech former POTUS Obama gave at MIT that was NOT supposed to be leaked to media where Obama claims HE HAD NO SCANDALS IN his admin. REALLY!? Everything was JUST DANDY at the VA…Phoenix Wait List still purred right long in those 8 years and MUCH more, just the Obama Admn. simply turned blind eyes to it all with God Syndrome eyes:

    “[…During the speech, Obama said his administration “didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.”

    He said that while officials did make mistakes, there were no major controversies.

    “I know that seems like a low bar,” Obama added, in an apparent jab to the scandals surrounding President Trump’s administration.

    “Generally speaking, you didn’t hear about a lot of drama inside our White House,” he said…]”


    1. Obama couldn’t tell the truth even if bite him in the A$$, but apparently he can’t stay out of the limelight he continues to interfere with what trp is trying to accomplish, but this clown just doesn’t get it or never will, your right on topic with the Obama’s unethical lies about scandals during his time in office, apparently he forgot the aftermath of the troops killed in bengazhi, and Hillary’s scandals and the VA handling of the VETERANS dying waiting to get seen, but I believe his time in office was just all hunky dory

      1. Yeah, and when he first became POTUS the first thing he did was send more troops and to…Afghanistan…that “hope you can believe in” he touted was ENDING THE WARS and taking care of our troops.

      2. Nam, I don’t recall if his Afghanistan troop increase came first, but I will never forget his proposal for service connected military members to pay for our own treatment of those service connected conditions.

    2. The keywords in Barky’s comment there nam is “that embarrassed us”.

      There were scandals his entire 8 years, but they just weren’t embarrassed by their third world way of governing.

      1. *clink* (just bought you a virtual beverage of your choice)

        “that embarrassed us”…which translates to possessing absolutely no pride…while being so narcissistic it provokes me to vomit and then cry when I see people still ooh and ah around him while again, Veterans DIED on his watch, Commander In Chief, and then that entire Candyman, Tomah VAMC scandal and more…narcissistic r’us.

  10. Great results, Benjamin!!!!!!!!!

    The taxpayers should conduct investigative research into the rabid “Animals Freely Gobbling Earnings” (AFGE herd), and ask themselves just why are these assholes are even at the VA like an unwanted second asshole and why we’re not performing crazy research on graviton waves produced from engorged purple team asses at the VA?

  11. Thank you for great work. The VA Caregivers Program is kicking out Purple Heart Veterans.
    What can Wives and families do to stop this suffering mentally with PTSD/TBi. It’s just wrong.
    Thank you for all the fine work your doing to support Military Families. We need Hope.

    1. Annette,

      The Caregiver Support Program (CSP) is currently going through the next phase of transformation. From approximately 2014 to 2017, many post-9/11 veterans/caregivers (dyads) were removed from the CSP due to differing structures of operation across the country. One Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) would conduct business in a different manner than another VISN. This resulted in dyads being removed indiscriminately and the matter was addressed in spring 2017. After the CSP was evaluated, it underwent a transformation that supposedly resulted in fewer dyad graduations (i.e., removals).

      Now the next phase is set to occur. Because so many entities have advocated for the inclusion of pre-9/11 veterans to qualify for caregiver assistance through the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (i.e., the portion of the program that is associated with a monthly stipend and health insurance), the VA is considering how to budget for the influx of so many dyads. The proposed solution? Tighten the eligibility criteria for the program to include those veterans who require assistance with performing three or more activities of daily living (ADLs; e.g., bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.) versus those under the current criteria who need assistance with one ADL or who require assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs; e.g., shopping, cooking, medication management, etc.). Eligibility for the CSP has very little to do with Purple Heart recognition. It’s more about what care-giving needs are clinically indicated.

      Essentially, the new proposal would serve those veterans whose conditions are deemed more severe in relation to ADLs while leaving some speculation in reference to how those who require more IADL-specific assistance will be addressed. This can prove challenging for those who have conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), as it is generally accepted that less severe forms of these conditions relate more to IADLs than ADLs. Of course, each case is unique and the latter statement is not a one-size-fits-all explanation.

      To address your question about what caregivers (to include “wives”) can do to stop the suffering related to PTSD and TBI, that answer would require voluminous feedback. In therapy we would teach, through psychoeducation, that rather than seeking to “stop” the suffering it may be more appropriate to learn how to reduce and live with it. This is not always an accepted realization, as you may already suspect. Learning to live with an altered state of being, and to obtain improved functioning and a more desirable quality of life, is difficult. It is also not impossible.

      Hopefully the next wave of CSP transformation will better serve dyads across the broad. Only time will tell if this is hope of a pragmatic nature or that which is akin to fantasy.

  12. Great job Ben!
    In my opinion, the only “animal research” VA needs to be in, to help veterans, is: “Training guide dogs”, “Training Companion Animals”, “Teaching veterans how to train dogs as companion animals!”

    I remember years ago how P&G was caught using animals for research. Let’s just say, they weren’t treated well by the court system. Maybe it’s time for the courts to fine VA!

    1. Good article Benji.

      As a Biologist, and working with dogs for many decades, I train my own K9 PTSD-Alert Service Dog. Basically anyone can train there own dog. The best way to train a service or emotional animal, is to first pin point what you need the animal for, and then to determine what species best fits your needs or requirements. But if you already have a dog, don’t let this deter you, work with what he/she likes; treats. Find the best treat that they like, and they’ll learn what ever you properly teach them.

      And, like me, I’ve taken an additional step in focusing what most dogs do best, to alert that there is someone around. So with that being said, having PTSD from Military Service (that’s a given), and being attacked from behind in public, I need to know what is around me at all times. So, I’ve trained my K9 to bark, or to lightly growl at any such unusual noise, or any movement due to people, animals, etc..

      I’ve also registered my buddy, and he is certified according to MY needs, and not what others may think what I need. I know my own particular needs, and this is very important, due to some people thinking that your dog should always be quiet, be still, and just look around waiting for a command. Now that’s hard for a rambunctious terrier to do isn’t it.

      So, I need an animal that is noisy, and if others don’t like it, then deal with it and stay away from me. Simple as that. Plus, since the VA has been getting a tad spunky, he’s being trained to do some other things. And I guess y’all can figure out what that means.

  13. @Ben Great job in figuring out now who is the talking heads at the VA! and helping out Vets all the way n fraud waste n abuse Hey shouldnt you get some part of the reward for this??

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