Congress members urge review of NIH-funded animal tests

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation Now) — A bipartisan group of 24 members of Congress is asking the Biden administration to look into an advocacy group’s report that taxpayer money was used to fund experiments on beagle puppies.

The White Coat Waste Project has been sounding the alarm that the U.S. was funding experiments that included removing dogs’ vocal cords and infecting them with parasites.

“These experiments are unnecessary,” Justin Goodman, the White Coat Waste Project’s vice president of public policy, said on NewsNation’s “On Balance With Leland Vittert.”

The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, which Dr. Anthony Fauci runs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and posted on her Twitter account Friday. It propelled this discussion onto a bigger stage, but the claim goes back to this past summer.

A spokesperson for the University of Georgia, a partner in the experiment, told Newsweek in August they were working on a vaccine for lymphatic filariasis, which affects 120 million people worldwide. He said federal rules required testing on two animal species before testing in humans.

“Because this disease currently has no cure, unfortunately the animals that are part of this trial must be euthanized,” Greg Trevor told Newsweek. “We do not take lightly the decision to use such animals in some of our research.”

In a different experiment conducted in Tunisia, sedated dogs were put in nets where they were exposed to a flesh-eating bacteria.

In each case, the National Institute of Health funded the experiment. The White Coat Waste Project is tying it to Fauci, although it’s unclear if he was personally involved.

Animal experiments, though controversial, are not unheard of. However, groups like The White Coast Waste Project point to conclusions in papers hosted on the NIH’s website that say more than 90% of drugs that pass tests on animals don’t end up succeeding in humans.

“The expose is the first step,” Goodman said. “Getting Congress to engage and ask questions, fact finding, is the second step. And then we’re going to make sure that Congress acts on those facts, whatever they may be.”

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