My friend Emily sent me the following via an email rightly entitled: "As if being a Republican isn't bad enough."
Bill Frist medical school experiments controversy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
While he was a medical school student in the 1970's, Bill Frist (now a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee) performed medical experiments on shelter cats while researching the use of drugs on the mitral valve. By his own account, Frist improperly obtained these cats from Boston animal shelters, falsely telling shelter staff he was adopting the cats as pets.  In his 1989 book Transplant, Frist admitted that he killed these cats during medical experiments at Harvard Medical School , as part of what he claimed were his studies.  
In his book, Frist explained that he succumbed to the pressure to succeed in a highly competitive medical school. Frist stated that he "treat[ed] them as pets for a few days" before he "cart[ed] them off to the lab to die." He went on to say, "And I was totally schizoid about the entire matter. By day, I was little Billy Frist, the boy who lived on Bowling Avenue in Nashville and had decided to become a doctor because of his gentle father and a dog named Scratchy. By night, I was Dr. William Harrison Frist, future cardiothoracic surgeon, who was not going to let a few sentiments about cute, furry little creatures stand in the way of his career. In short, I was going a little crazy." He went on to describe why he conducted animal experiments: "It can even be beautiful and thrilling work, as I discovered that day in the lab when I first saw the wonderful workings of a dog's heart . . . I spent days and nights on end in the lab, taking the hearts out of cats, dissecting each heart, suspending a strip of tiny muscle that attaches the mitral valve to the inner wall of the cat heart and recording the effects of various medicines I added to the bath surrounding the muscle." "I lost my supply of cats. I only had six weeks to complete my project before I resumed my clinical rotations. Desperate, obsessed with my work, I visited the various animal shelters in the Boston suburbs, collecting cats . . . it was a heinous and dishonest thing to do."
Senator Bill Frist
Although Frist's book had been published more than a decade before, the matter created public controversy after mention in a Boston Globe profile, published after his election as Senate majority leader.  PETA, which opposes scientific experimentation on animals that results in death or cruel treatment demanded that Frist atone by sponsoring legislation to protect animals from unnecessary suffering.  In response, Frist's office reaffirmed that he denounced the action, but made no promises about any animal protection legislation.
According to an ASPCA lawyer, Frist's action was "fraudulent and probably was illegal". Another ASPCA official stated it "probably would be considered cruel."  Massachusetts has a criminal statute prohibiting cruelty to animals.  Frist was never charged under this statute and his defenders have pointed out that until 1983 Massachusetts law permitted shelters to release animals for laboratory experiments, and some states continue to permit such activity today. Because the Boston area animal shelters in Frist's case did not release the animals to Frist knowing they would be used for experimentation because of the manner in which he adopted the cats, these laws may not have applied to the facts presently in the public record about Frist's actions. However, the statute of limitations has passed