Lily Tomlin Criticizes Texas A&M for "Cruel" Campus Experiments on Dogs

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Lily Tomlin

The 'Grace and Frankie' star phoned more than 5,000 university staffers to demand a halt to school's laboratory experiments on caged Golden Retrievers.

More than 5,000 staff members of Texas A&M University on Monday picked up their phones to hear Grace and Frankie star Lily Tomlin in a recorded message call for an end to "cruel experiments" on caged dogs on campus, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Tomlin, who played the feisty phone operator Ernestine on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, made the calls for PETA, the animal rights group, and urged TAMU president Michael Young to close his school's dog laboratories to end "cruel experiments" on animals, including Golden Retriever dogs bred with muscular dystrophy.

"Texas A&M deliberately breeds golden retrievers and other dogs to have a debilitating form of canine muscular dystrophy. Many of these dogs suffer premature and agonizing deaths," the comedian and actress said in the recorded call. "Please call or e-mail President Young today and tell him, 'Enough is enough,'" added Tomlin, who as an animal activist has participated in earlier PETA campaigns.

A spokesperson for Texas A&M told The Hollywood Reporter that "we respect Ms. Tomlin, but disagree. We know for a fact that the animals are treated with the utmost dignity and care for the heroes that they are in helping to find a cure for this dreadful disease that affects both dogs and humans."

Tomlin in her phone message insisted that the TAMU experiments are scientifically useless as no cure or treatment to reverse MD symptoms in people has been discovered after five years of experiments at the university.

But the Texas A&M representative countered the laboratory research had reached a milestone with a gene-therapy treatment moving to human clinical trials in December.

Feb. 26, 12:30 p.m. Updated with comment from a Texas A&M spokesman in response to Tomlin's complaint.