A bipartisan group of 10 U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci about taxpayer-backed dog testing conducted under the Biden administration.
“Americans across the political spectrum have been horrified to learn their tax dollars are being wasted to subsidize NIH’s [National Institutes of Health] barbaric experiments on beagle puppies,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who led the group of Republicans and Democrats, told the Washington Examiner. She called the experiments on dogs “outdated, unnecessary, and cruel.”
The GOP congresswoman released a joint letter dated Dec. 1 to the outlet, in which the group underscored congressional attention to allergy medicine tests on animals, calling on the NIH to publicize information on its testing operations, including nearly $2 million in tests on puppies that have been canceled.
In response to pressure from Congress and a watchdog group, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the NIH, dropped a taxpayer-funded trial this July that was slated to test a hay fever drug on mice, rats, and dogs.
Documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act show that the NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds for animal experimentation from 2018 to 2019. According to the nonprofit government spending watchdog White Coat Waste Project, the federal agency had repeatedly injected or force-fed 44 beagle puppies who were just 6 to 8 months old with an experimental drug during the tests, while seeking to have the puppies’ vocal cords cut out so they couldn’t bark in the lab while they were being abused.
“Other federal agencies, including the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, have already launched laudable efforts to curb testing on dogs and other animals,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
They inquired about the number of dogs and government dollars the NIH used over the past five years to assess new drugs, whether the NIH has met with the FDA to discuss “alternative testing methods to fulfill regulatory requirements,” and how it would encourage contractors and grantees to avoid such testing.
“With no apparent plan in place to reduce inefficient and painful testing on dogs, the NIH is therefore an outlier among its peers,” they said. “This is particularly notable given that the NIH has frequently acknowledged the wastefulness of animal testing.”