OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Editor’s note: An original version of this story originally stated the NIAID canceled nearly $2 million in funding for experiments on puppies. However, new information was published after our original reporting indicating the “NIAID denied funding one particular project in which sedated beagles had their heads placed in mesh cages so sand flies could bite them,” FactCheck.org reported.
The fact-checking outlet added: “In a July 30 “exposé,” the White Coat Waste Project alleged that Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spent more than $424,000 on “beagle experiments” in which the dogs were “bitten to death by flies.”
We have updated our story and regret the error.
A leading Republican senator played a significant role in Dr. Anthony Fauci’s decision to cancel funding for “cruel” experiments on puppies after she pressured him and his office.
“Dr. Fauci was barking up the wrong tree when he decided to use government dollars on dog testing,” Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa noted in a statement.
“These inhumane practices have no place in our government – much less on the taxpayer’s dime. Thankfully, after voicing our concerns and shining a light on these heinous tactics, taxpayers can rest easy knowing their hard-earned money is not going towards dog abuse,” she said.
“We’re thrilled that following a White Coat Waste Project exposé and advocacy by Waste Warrior Sen. Joni Ernst, Dr. Fauci’s ‘runny nose’ experiments on beagle puppies have been completely canceled,” added Devin Murphy, the Public Policy and Communications Manager at the White Coat Waste Project, which exposed the experiments last fall.
“This is a decisive victory in the War on Waste, and sends a message to big-spending white coats across the federal government: taxpayers should not be forced to pay for wasteful, unnecessary, and cruel animal experiments,” Murphy added.
“After WCW’s #BeagleGate investigation first exposed NIAID’s barbaric beagle experiments, Members of Congress in both parties, and Americans across the political spectrum, were outraged — and rightfully so,” Murphy continued.
“Taxpayers and animal lovers in Iowa and across the nation are grateful for Sen. Ernst’s outstanding commitment to government transparency and the responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) July 6, 2022
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail in October, “Fauci has been condemned for using taxpayers’ money to fund animal experiments, including one which saw beagles trapped in cages so flies could eat them, and another where they were ‘debarked’ before being pumped with drugs and killed.”
The report provided additional details:
One of the most disturbing incidents funded by Fauci’s National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases involved $375,000 given to a Tunisian research lab.
There, puppies had their heads held in cages, before being left for sand flies to eat them alive for research purposes.
Distressing snaps showed the pups with their heads kept inside the muslin-type cages filled with the hungry insects.
Another procedure – which the NIH funded to the tune of $1.8m – saw 44 beagle puppies undergo a ‘cordectomy,’ which saw their vocal cords cut to stop them barking.
That experiment, which took place in Menlo Park, California, saw the dogs then pumped full of drugs, before being killed and dissected.
Following the WCW’s exposure of the experiments, a bipartisan group of 24 lawmakers led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) blasted Fauci in a letter over the “cruel” experiments.
“According to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, and subsequent media coverage, from October 2018 until February 2019, NIAID spent $1.86million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies,” the letter said.
“While documents state that the ostensible purpose of this study was to ‘provide data of suitable quality and integrity to support application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies,’ the FDA itself has recently stated that it ‘does not mandate that human drugs be studied in dogs,'” the letter continued.
In a recent letter to Ernst, Fauci attempted to defend his agency’s actions while noting that the funding had been pulled.
“Although the contract to Inimmune Corporation proposed the use of murine and canine preclinical animal models, after consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the company elected to proceed using two rodent models only,” he wrote.
“No experiments utilizing the canine model are being conducted under this contract. I want to assure you that NIH and NIAID take the welfare of animals in research very seriously,” Fauci added.
“NIH has established guidance, procedures, and protocols to ensure that … scientists maintain the highest possible standards for the humane care and use of animals in research,” he said.