A bipartisan group of United States lawmakers demanded answers regarding a report that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases used taxpayer money to fund “cruel” and “costly” experiments on dogs as young as six months old. The letter regarding possible animal abuse was sent to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“We write with grave concerns about reports of costly, cruel, and unnecessary taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs commissioned by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,” the bipartisan letter signed by 24 lawmakers, spearheaded by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), reads.
The letter cites a damning report from the White Coat Waste Project that claims that 44 beagle puppies — all between the ages of six and eight months old — were subjected to “commissioned tests” for a drug. The experiments involved “injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them.”
According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, there was an invoice to the NIAID for a “cordectomy,” an invasive surgical procedure also known as “debarking” and “devocalization” that removes the dog’s vocal cords so that the animal can no longer bark, howl, or cry.
“This cruel procedure — which is opposed with rare exceptions by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and others — seems to have been performed so that experimenters would not have to listen to the pained cries of the beagle puppies. This is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds,” the legislators wrote.
“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,” White Coat Waste told The Hill. “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.”
White Coat Waste reports that documents show the NIAID spent $1.68 million in American taxpayer funds on drug tests involving the beagle puppies.
The White Coat Waste Project — a nonprofit government watchdog group — demands to know why these experiments are being conducted when the Food and Drug Administration does not require new drugs to be tested on dogs.
The lawmakers want Fauci to reveal how many drug tests have been performed on dogs since January 2018, as well as what are the total costs and what is the justification for them.
Mace’s letter was also signed by 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.).
In August, reports surfaced that the NIAID directed $424,455 to the University of Georgia Research Foundation to test an experimental drug on beagles. The experiments subjected dozens of healthy beagles to biting flies that were carrying a disease-causing parasite that can affect humans. The records obtained under a FOIA request show that the dogs “vocalized pain” during the tests. The experiments were said to have allowed 28 beagles to “develop infections for three months before being euthanized for blood collection.”
Fauci is also being grilled by Republican lawmakers after the National Institutes of Health finally admitted that it funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, something that Fauci vehemently denied for months.