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September 13, 2023 | In The News

Progress To Protect Dogs From Taxpayer-Funded Abuse

Tampa Free PressOp-Ed By Rep. Greg Steube and Justin Goodman From Dr. Fauci’s biting fly experiments on beagles at home and abroad to de-barking puppies and injecting them with drugs including cocaine, we’ve uncovered how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) wastes more money on cruel dog testing than any other government agency. 

A 2022 national poll found that 73% of taxpayers across all parties—Republicans, Democrats and Independents—want to cut funding for the NIH’s cruelty to canines.  

Fortunately, help is on the way: we’re working together to pass a bold bipartisan bill called the Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act to fully defund all of NIH’s testing on dogs. 

Last year, following an investigation by White Coat Waste Project and scrutiny from Republicans in Congress, Dr. Fauci canceled a misguided plan to waste nearly $2 million on a series of five experiments on dogs to test a new seasonal allergy drug. He admitted in a letter to Congress that the use of dogs, which his own team had proposed, was completely unnecessary. 

Not only are there alternatives to dog testing available, but the NIH admits that drugs that pass dog and other animal tests fail to translate to people over 95 percent of the time, wasting billions of dollars, years of research, and countless canines’ lives

Yet, the problem persists. Through years of bipartisan fact-finding investigations and open records lawsuits, we’ve been collaborating to pry details from the NIH about its taxpayer-funded dog tests inside the agency’s own Beltway labs and external ones that it funds. 

For instance, for years, Dr. Fauci’s in-house lab at the NIH strapped capsules full of biting sandflies to beagles’ bare skin in painful experiments. Fauci’s team intentionally withheld pain relief from the dogs. WCW obtained the documents and the disturbing pictures to prove it via the Freedom of Information Act. 

Those tests have since been stopped, but last year, we discovered that another NIH in-house lab bought beagles from the disgraced Envigo puppy mill that was shut down by federal authorities for widescale abuses. Some of those survivors from that hellhole ended up being adopted out to loving homes in Sarasota County

In the NIH’s decades-old—and ongoing—in-house “septic shock” tests paid for with your tax dollars, dozens of puppies’ throats are cut open and infectious bacteria are forced directly into the dogs’ lungs to cause pneumonia. Experimenters then bleed out the dogs, give them transfusions, and wait to see how long the dogs can survive. Any dog that survives longer than 96 hours is then killed.  

The Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act would finally cut funding for this disgusting waste of taxpayer dollars, which is the only dog experiment left inside the NIH’s own labs. Following our efforts, the NIH’s in-house puppy abuse has plummeted by 95% over the past five years from a reported 696 dogs abused in 2018 to just 38 in 2022. We’re fighting to zero it out. 

Unfortunately, the NIH is still wasting tens of millions of dollars on dog experimentation outside of federal facilities. These tests include infesting beagle puppies with hundreds of ticks, breeding hundreds of beagles and other dogs to suffer from bleeding disorders, and rounding up abandoned hounds and infesting them with insects. 

The NIH is lagging far behind other agencies on stopping taxpayer-funded canine cruelty, too. During the Trump Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rightfully came under fire from White Coat Waste Project (WCW), veteransFlorida lawmakers, and even the Trump family because it was wasting tax dollars to drill holes into dogs’ skulls, collapse their lungs, inject them with methamphetamines and give puppies heart attacks. With pressure from Congress and under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the VA promised to phase out its use of puppies and dogs in experiments. Last year, the VA ended its last active painful dog experiments

Unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s NIH hasn’t made a commitment to end its despicable dog testing. Quite the opposite: it’s doubled down on recklessly funding outdated and inefficient dog tests. So, we’re rallying Congress to pass the Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act to save man’s best friend, cut NIH’s wasteful spending, and expedite medical progress.  

Stop the money. Stop the madness! 

Congressman Greg Steube represents Florida’s 17th Congressional District. Justin Goodman is the Senior Vice President of the non-profit government watchdog White Coat Waste Project.