By: Stephen Vellecca

What exactly does the government do with our tax dollars? Do they use them to fund schools, build roads, or fund important programs? We like to think so. But, as uncovered in the last few weeks, our hard-earned dollars have been going to other, more sinister projects. 

In the last few weeks, the White Coat Waste Project, a taxpayer watchdog group focusing on animal experimentation by the government, per their own website, has made an incredible allegation against the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The claim? That these government organizations have been experimenting on beagle puppies for research purposes.

According to the Daily Mail, it was reported that “close to $1.68 million was spent on experiments on a total of forty-four beagles at Sri International in Menlo Park, California, in which the puppies received corpectomies and were force-fed drugs before being killed and dissected.”

A cordectomy is the surgical removal of the vocal cords. This practice, according to an unnamed spokesperson for the NIAID, is “common in scientific settings and that they are conducted humanely under anesthesia [and] may be used in research facilities where numerous dogs are present.” The NIAID and its head, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have also denied any allegations of animal cruelty or wrongdoing.

However according to congressional investigators instigated by Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), Scott Perry, (R-PA), and more— 

[NIAID] “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.”

Moreover, the Daily Mail also stated that in 2016, the beagles allegedly had these sand flies strapped to them for twenty-two months. And, “that the dogs developed infectious lesions before researchers killed and dissected them.” This whole procedure reportedly cost the taxpayers $18,430,917 in total.

According to the American Anti-Vivisection Society, an animal rights group, “beagles are the most common breed of dog used for experiments.” This is so, because apparently they are “docile and small, allowing for more animals to be housed and cared for using less space and money.” 

But what has sparked such outrage is not the breed in particular, or even the experiments themselves; rather, how cruel they reportedly are. 

Representative Nancy Mace herself said that “corpectomies [alone] are ‘cruel’ and a ‘reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.’” 

Not all of the facts are known. But people are asking questions. In Congress, legislators have asked Dr. Fauci and the NIAID to answer the following questions by Nov. 19:

  • How many drug tests involving dogs have been funded by NIAID since Jan. 2018? How much taxpayer money has been spent on this testing? 
  • Since the Food and Drug Administration has clearly stated that it does not require dog testing for new drugs, why has NIAID continued to commission testing on dogs?
  • What has NIAID done to explore the use of non-canine and non-animal alternatives to meet FDA data requirements?
  • Has NIAID ever made any dogs available for adoption after the conclusion of an experiment or testing? If so, how many? If so, why not?
  • Why has NIAID contracted for cordectomies when they appear to be scientifically and medically unnecessary? What is the average cost for each cordectomy performed?

The NIAID so far has not answered the questions posed to them about the situation. But lawmakers and citizens do not plan on letting this issue go to rest.