This article includes graphic images and footage that some readers may find disturbing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is now under heavy fire for agonizing conditions that were recently revealed for dogs used for research under his agency’s grants or at his own laboratories. But Fauci, who has been the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has been granting billions in taxpayer funds for cruel, abusive, and often unnecessary animal experimentats for years.
The White Coat Waste Project, the nonprofit organization that first pointed out that U.S. taxpayers were being used to fund the Wuhan Institute of Virology, recently revealed dogs were tormented with NIAID-disbursed taxpayer money for experiments conducted under dubious bioethical conditions and with lax oversight.
“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 Changing America. “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 claims that 44 beagle puppies were used in a Tunisia, North Africa, laboratory, and some of the dogs had their vocal cords removed, allegedly so scientists could work without incessant barking,” Changing America learned. “According to the White Coat Waste Project, the Food and Drug Administration does not require drugs to be tested on dogs, so the group is asking why the need for such testing.”
It is not the only such recent animal research project to come to light that exposes the NIAID’s ethically questionable leadership. White Coat Waste obtained documentation of the NIAID funds issued to the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGR) in the amount of $424,555 to determine ‘the efficacy of a potential vaccine for lymphatic filariasis on beagle test subjects.’
As was reported in August by the Daily Caller, an NIAID task order form released due to Freedom Of Information Act request shows that 28 beagles were to develop infections for three months before being euthanized.
NIH and NIAID facilities themselves are guilty of bioethical infractions. Below is a dog from inside an NIH facility in Bethesda, MD. The White Coat Waste project said that dogs that were “inside Fauci’s own lab” got “no anasthesia” and “no pain relief.” The taxpayer-funded study conducted at the laboratory for NIAID research cost Americans over $18 million, WCW reported.
The following are some of the animals that were used for research at the NIH Maryland campuses alone in 2019.
- Number of dogs used in experiments: 415
- Number of rabbits imprisoned or used in experiments: 487
- Number of monkeys used in experiments: 3,272
- Number of monkeys imprisoned but not used: 477
- Number of monkeys who endured pain or distress without any painkillers: 383
- Number of pigs used in experiments: 185
- Number of hamsters used in experiments: 420
- Number of guinea pigs used in experiments: 790
- Number of bats used in experiments: 414
- Number of ferrets used in experiments: 77
“It’s not just Wuhan,” WCW vice president of advocacy and public policy Justin Goodman told the Daily Caller. “Fauci’s budget has ballooned to over $6 billion in taxpayer funding annually, at least half of which is being wasted on more questionable animal experimentation like these deadly and unnecessary beagle tests and other maximum pain experiments.”
“Fauci needs to be held accountable for this staggering waste and abuse overseas and right here at home. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay,” Goodman added.
“Members of Congress earlier this year called for increased transparency on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) animal testing after WCW revealed that around 20,000 dogs per year are used in FDA experiments, many of which scientists say are unnecessary and harmful to the animals involved,” the Daily Caller noted.
Dogs are not the only animals affected by the NIAID’s questionable ethical compass. Another study of questionable medical utility has been unearthed involving mice and human fetal tissue. NIAID was found to have spent more than $400,000 on experiments in which the scalps of aborted fetuses were grafted onto live mice and rats.
“Full-thickness human fetal skin was processed via removal of excess fat tissues attached to the subcutaneous layer of the skin, then engrafted over the rib cage, where the mouse skin was previously excised,” the researchers wrote.
“Researchers involved with the study did not respond to queries for comment on the research. The NIAID and Anthony Fauci also did not respond to queries seeking more information about the project’s funding, including how often the NIAID funds projects using aborted fetal remains,” the report added. “Federal records show that the NIAID supplied the project with about $430,000 in funding over 2018 and 2019.”
Dr. Fauci has served as NIAID’s director since 1984 and has worked there for more than five decades. Over that period, researchers from all government agencies and private laboraties have utilized over one million animals a year for their studies.
The bioethical necessity for many of these studies is highly debatable. NIH has stated that “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.”
NIH has admitted that “95 percent of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials because they don’t work or are dangerous. And of the small percentage of drugs approved for human use, half end up being relabeled because of side effects that were not identified in tests on animals,” PETA notes.
Nonetheless, cruel and unnecessary animal research is big business in the United States. NIH funding of animal experiments by the numbers:
- Amount of taxpayer money that funds NIH annually: $41.7 billion
- Amount of taxpayer money NIH directed to funding for animal and non-animal research projects in 2020: $37.5 billion
- Amount of NIH research project funding that pays for experiments using dogs, rats, monkeys, mice, and other animals: 47%
- Total spent on experiments using animals: more than $19.6 billion each year
The Intercept reported in a May 2018 article that “corporations and academic institutions exploit dogs (as well as cats and rabbits) for excruciating experiments that are completely trivial, even useless, and are just as abusive as the practices in Asia that have produced so much moral indignation in the West. These dogs are frequently bred into life for the sole purpose of being laboratory objects, and spend their entire, often short, existence locked in a small cage, subjected to procedures that impose extreme pain and suffering.”
The regulatory framework and guidelines for animal research that laboratories and corporations operate under is surpringly lax, the authors Glenn Greenwald and Leighton Akio Woodhouse revealed.
“As loose and permissive as this legal framework is, these standards are often flagrantly ignored by many dog breeding and experimentation corporations — with little consequence. Dogs are often mangled, tortured, and killed through sadistic abuse, reckless experimentation, or just sheer negligence.”
“Even as dogs have become beloved pets in the U.S., treated as members of the family, with harsh punishments for those who abuse them, the behavior of corporate and academic entities that subject dogs to gruesome experimentations has barely changed. It’s a strange hypocrisy: Individuals may not abuse these animals, but corporations can,” the publication strikingly noted.
A graphic video produced by The Intercept shows the extent of barbarity that such research dogs are routinely exposed to. The agency overseing the research dog mills that supply many government agencies for animal research, not just NIH-funded research facilities, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Lawrence Hansen, a professor of neuroscience and pathology at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine who once engaged in experimentation on dogs put the cruel fates of these creatures into perspective in a 2016 op-ed at the San Diego Tribune.
“Of all the animals used in research, subjecting dogs to invasive experiments is especially condemnable because humans have selectively bred dogs to unconditionally love the very people who sometimes visit abuses upon them,” he notes. “For instance, on its website, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) ironically named Office of Research Integrity states, ‘Most of the dogs used in research are beagles due to their convenient size and docile nature’.”
A 2017 PETA investigation into Liberty Research Inc. also shows how dogs, and cats, are commonly treated as inanimate laboratory objects. “A PETA eyewitness revealed the miserable lives and deaths of dogs and cats who were injected with experimental drugs and viruses at a contract laboratory in New York,” the report said.
A group called Rescue Freedom Project that is devoted to rescuing beagles and other dogs from research lab launched its operations in 2010 with a video that shows the first two beagles it was able to rescue from the research animal system. It is a stark example of the kind of psychological scarring that these dogs endure, before many of them are summarily put to death.
This is not to impugn valid scientific research undertaken with utmost care for the animal subjects under examination. Unfortunately, independent research into the conditions at many animal research laboratories and facilities has turned up a startling pattern of little concern for these creatures.
“The primary law governing treatment of animal experimentation is the Animal Welfare Act, or AWA, which was first enacted in 1966 under the name Laboratory Animal Welfare Act. Under all federal law, all forms of experimentation on animals — including on dogs — is legally permissible, even though superior research alternatives (such as stem cell research) are increasingly available,” The Intercept noted as background.
“While the AWA permits all animal experimentation, it requires minimal standards of humane treatment for dogs that are bred and sold for experimentation,” the report added. “But even when these rules are complied with, the conditions in which ‘research dogs’ are routinely kept are nothing short of barbaric.”
Legislation dubbed the “Beagle Bill” that would have further protected animals used in research was gutted in the Maryland General Assembly in 2018, according to a report in Bethesda Magazine. The legislation would have impacted major research hubs like Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute of Health’s Bethesda campus.
“Formally entitled the ‘Humane Adoption of Companion Animals Used In Research Act,’ Kramer’s original bill (and companion legislation sponsored in the Senate by Frederick County Republican Michael Hough) would have required annual reporting by individual laboratories of the number of dogs and cats used, and how many of them had been adopted out. It also would have required these facilities to work with outside animal rescue organizations to maximize adoption of companion animals after they were no longer needed as test subjects,” the publication noted.
“[When] it came out of the Senate, the amendments completely neutered the bill,” charged Kramer, a Derwood Democrat who has served in the House of Delegates since 2007. “Once those amendments passed, we were left with a bill with a beautiful title—and nothing more.”
In 2020, the FDA suddenly announced that it will allowed healthy lab animals to be adopted in “furever homes.” The announcement followed investigative reports by White Coat Waste Project that brought scrutiny into a USDA research program, as well as the introduction of federal legislation by U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine. The Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments and Research (AFTER) Act, introduced in 2019, was referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture on October 5, 2021.
Stricter legislation on animal research should undoubtedly be considered in the U.S. Congress. A bi-partisan letter spearheaded by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) was recently sent to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) objecting that the cordectomies were a ‘cruel’ and a ‘reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds’.”
“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 lawmakers wrote.
“The dogs were all between six and eight months old. The commissioned tests involved injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them,” it continued.
“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,” the letter went on.
“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 lawmakers said.
Another disturbing aspect of the reports on the NIAID’s funding and conducting of animal research experiments that torture animals, often without bioethical guidelines such as the proper administration of anaethetics, is that this is the same agency that has been unduly put in charge of the entire nation’s coronavirus pandemic response.
Watch the footage above and read the reports. Does this seem like an agency that cares about the biomedical ethics of animal research, let alone the human ethics of a pandemic response that is dictating the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans?
U.S. citizens have been virtually caged for nearly two years as the NIAID and FDA run their own social and medical experiments. It’s time for this farce to end and for the restoration of everyone’s rights under the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s laws – dogs and other animals included.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.