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September 20, 2022 | Press Releases

ICYMI: Steube Pens Op-Ed in The Herald Tribune on Sarasotans Helping to Defund Government Dog Abuse

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) penned an opinion piece on Sarasotans helping in the fight to defund government dog abuse. Read the Op-Ed in The Herald Tribune here or below.

Rep. Steube recently introduced the Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act to prohibit taxpayer funding of any biological, medical, or behavioral research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that involves the use of a dog.

Sarasotans help in the fight to defund government dog abuse
The Herald Tribune

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Huckleberry Finn, a 10-month-old beagle puppy rescued from the infamous government breeding facility, Envigo. Huck is Sarasota’s newest resident thanks to the kindness of his adopted owner, Jennifer, and the work of the Humane Society of Sarasota County.

Our federal government, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has used Envigo beagles for cruel lab experiments. Disturbingly, NIH researchers prefer beagles because of their “convenient size and docile nature,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity. In other words, because beagles are people-pleasing and forgiving, they’re easy to abuse.

Reports of horrific NIH experiments include repeated cocaine injections, septic shock tests, releasing hundreds of hungry biting flies and infectious ticks on the dogs, cutting vocal cords out to prevent barking in the lab and forcing the dogs to inhale and ingest massive doses of experimental drugs. 

What’s more, the American taxpayer foots the bill for these shocking practices.

Huck was destined to live a torturous life in a lab cage where he would have been subjected to these endless taxpayer-funded experiments until death.

Fortunately, federal authorities shut Envigo down for widescale abuses and violations of law, which allowed Huck and 3,999 other Envigo beagle puppies to begin a new journey to safe, loving homes all across the United States. But Envigo is just one mass-breeding facility, and taxpayer-funded dog abuse is still alive and well in this country.

Americans do not want our dogs abused, and they certainly don’t want their tax dollars paying for such experiments. Nearly half of the National Institutes of Health’s $40 billion budget is wasted on inefficient government animal experiments, many of which involve cruel, expensive and unnecessary testing on dogs. In fact, $2 million of its budget alone was spent on the experiments involving cocaine injections.

The vast majority of Americans are opposed to dog testing, with a July 2022 poll finding that 73% of taxpayers across the political spectrum support efforts to reduce NIH dog experiments. And you know it’s a no-brainer when everyone from the Freedom Caucus to “The Squad” can come together on an issue.

That’s why last month I introduced “The Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act.” The only way to be sure these cruel practices stop is to defund every dime of the National Institutes of Health’s dog testing program. My legislation will end the demand for mass-breeding facilities like the one Huck came from.

It’s heartwarming to see how much love our community has given to the rescued Envigo puppies. The Humane Society of Sarasota County received 18 of the 4,000 beagles under a court-approved transfer plan for the United States Humane Society to secure placement for the dogs – and Sarasotans couldn’t have adopted them any faster! Hundreds of applications poured into the Humane Society of Sarasota County, and all 18 beagles were adopted within days.

I’d like to thank each and every Floridian who sent in an application, and especially the 18 families who were selected to provide homes for the beagle puppies.

Huck’s story had a happy ending, but there are thousands of puppies left in government breeding facilities just like Envigo. We must stop the money to stop the madness.

I’m working to pass this legislation through the U.S. House, and I will continue to fight until all government dog abuse is completely defunded.

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube represents Florida’s 17th Congressional District. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.