Nearly two dozen members of Congress are demanding answers after the discovery that U.S. taxpayer funds may have been used to fund cruel experiments on beagles. The White Coat Waste Project, a non-profit organization, has stated that they discovered the beagle experiments after requesting documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); the documents showed that approximately four dozen beagles were killed in the experiments, which took place between 2018 and early 2019 in Tunisia.
The non-profit organization details what their investigators found about the alleged experiments:
“Our investigators show that Fauci’s NIH division shipped part of a $375,800 grant to a lab in Tunisia to drug beagles and lock their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies so that the insects could eat them alive. They also locked beagles alone in cages in the desert overnight for nine consecutive nights to use them as bait to attract infectious sand flies.”
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases division of the National Institute of Health, specifically Dr. Anthony Fauci, received a letter from Rep. Nancy Mace (R), which was also signed by both Democrats and Republican members of Congress, including Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Maria E. Salazar (R-Fla.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), detailing “grave concerns” about the experiments that were conducted on the dogs.
The letter asks questions, including:
How many drug tests, involving dogs, have been funded by NIAID since January 2018?
Has NIAID ever made any dogs available for adoption after the conclusion of an experiment or testing? If so, how many? If no, why not?
The letter highlights a particular procedure on the beagles which is concerning:
Of particular concern is the fact that the invoice to NIAID included a line item for ‘cordectomy.’ As you are likely aware, a cordectomy, also known as ‘devocalization,’ involves slitting a dog’s vocal cords in order to prevent them from barking, howling, or crying.”
Why were these experiments being conducted? It is reported that they were conducted to test an experimental drug on the dogs after they were infected with a mosquito-borne parasitic infection. As reported by Snopes, experiments on the vaccines were already conducted years before…which technically should have made the beagle testing unnecessary.
It is true that obligated funds were issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $424,555 for research conducted at the University of Georgia to test the efficacy of a potential vaccine for lymphatic filariasis on beagle subjects. However, it is unclear whether Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH, personally approved the project. Research conducted on behalf of NIAID is funded in large part through annual funds allocated by Congress and the president. A University of Georgia spokesperson indicated that testing on dogs was, in fact, necessary, and that all humane standards set by applicable agencies were adhered to.
On Tuesday, after the creation of this article, HITC reports that NIH contacted the Daily Mail to let them know that the image of the beagles with their heads in mesh boxes was mistakenly attributed to NIAID. The statement says:
“The images of beagles were drawn from a manuscript published in July 2021 in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The manuscript mistakenly cited support from NIAID, when in fact NIAID did not support this specific research shown in the images of the beagles being circulated.”
However, the agency’s spokesperson did confirm that vocal cordectomies are performed:
“Vocal cordectomies, conducted humanely under anesthesia, may be used in research facilities where numerous dogs are present.”
The denial that NIAID was involved in this particular experimentation has not deterred organizations from calling on NIH to halt animal experiments. The non-profit group, The Beagle Freedom Project, sent a letter to Dr. Fauci demanding an end to unnecessary animal testing.
A portion of the letter, which is published on TMZ, reads:
We are calling on YOU and your organization, the National Institute of Health to
immediately STOP funding any research that uses animals.
As I am sure you are aware, your very own agency published this very informative article by
respected M.D., M.P.H., Aysha Akhtar about The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal
Experimentation. Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2015 Oct; 24(4): 407–419. In short, it states:
“….animal experimentation often significantly harms humans through misleading safety studies, potential abandonment of effective therapeutics, and direction of resources away from more effective testing methods. The resulting evidence suggests that the collective harms and costs to humans from animal experimentation outweigh potential benefits and that resources would be better invested in developing human-based testing methods.”
Read the full letter here.
On October 25, PETA issued a statement about the alleged beagle testing as well, and they want to see President Biden appoint a new director to NIH. PETA said:
It’s crucial that the president appoint a new NIH director who puts America’s health first and firmly says no to all the animal experimenters who have been driving policy at the agency for the last decade. The areas that can actually help humans must be funded, including epidemiological studies, in vitro work using human cells, integrative modeling and molecular simulations or three-dimensional printed human tissues, cell-based assays, and organs-on-a-chip.
Read the full PETA release at this link.
The White Coat Waste Project website details what their organization is about:
To STOP taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs, monkeys, cats and other animals, we must stop wasteful government spending. Our approach? Drain the swamp: cut federal spending that hurts animals and Americans.