Many people will receive puppies as Christmas presents this year. After all, they’re cute and sweet. But the government has other uses for puppies, for example, conducting cruel and weird experiments on them.
The White Coat Waste Project (WCWP) recently released a report detailing taxpayer-funded dog experiments by the federal government. WCWP alleges that 1,183 dogs were held or used in experiments by five agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Defense (DOD), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VA).
Even worse, the WCWP claims 294 of these dogs were subjected to experiments involving significant pain and distress, including exposing the canines to anthrax, deliberately forcing them to suffer heart attacks, drilling into their skulls, infecting them with pneumonia by flies, and killing them and dissecting them.
The three agencies that the WCWP determined were responsible for most of these cruel experiments were the NIH, DOD, and the VA.
According to the report, the most common dogs that federal scientists experimented on were beagles because of their small size and docile temperament. Other dogs used for experiments were hounds and mixed breeds, some as young as 10 months old.
The cost to taxpayers was estimated to be as much as $13,795 per dog, which likely brought the overall cost of the experiments into the millions. But we can’t be sure: the agencies that ran the experiments often failed to report the costs of purchasing and housing the animals.
Right now, 13 members of the House of Representatives are demanding answers from the government about these experiments. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson sent a bipartisan letter to the Government Accountability Office demanding an audit of these programs. That would be a positive first step, but more needs to be done.
According to WCWP, 75 percent of Americans want laboratory experiments on dogs phased out and 59 percent want to end taxpayer funding of experiments involving dogs altogether. On this issue, the American people are right.
Animal experiments are unnecessary to protect human health because what can kill some animals is helpful to humans. For example, testing has found penicillin to be deadly to animals yet it’s a miracle drug that has saved countless human lives. Stem cell research is also showing promise as a replacement for animal testing. For these reasons, the government should end these cruel and costly experiments.