Story at a glance:
- A bipartisan letter demands answers from the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical adviser.
- House members, most of whom are Republicans, want Fauci to explain himself in response to allegations brought on by the White Coat Waste Project that involve drugging puppies.
- Critics have called some of the allegations against the NIH erroneous and misleading.
A bipartisan letter demands answers from the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical adviser, while at the same time critics point out erroneous and “misleading” facts used in the letter and in the underlying campaign.
The White Coat Waste Project, the controversial nonprofit organization that first pointed out that U.S. taxpayers were being used to fund the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology, have now turned its sights on Anthony Fauci on another animal-testing-related matter — infecting dozens of beagles with disease-causing parasites to test an experimental drug on them.
House members, most of whom are Republicans, want Fauci to explain himself in response to allegations brought on by the White Coat Waste Project that involve drugging puppies.
According to the White Coat Waste Project, the Food and Drug Administration does not require drugs to be tested on dogs, so the group is asking why the need for such testing.
White Coat Waste claims that 44 beagle puppies were used in a Tunisia, North Africa, laboratory, and some of the dogs had their vocal cords removed, allegedly so scientists could work without incessant barking.
Leading the effort is Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), writing a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saying the cordectomies are “cruel” and a “reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.”
“Our investigators show that Fauci’s NIH division 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,” White Coat Waste told Changing America. “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.”
Mace’s letter was signed by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Maria E. Salazar (R-Fla.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases did not respond to a request for comment from Changing America.
In response to the critical backlash to testing on beagles, the Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) forwarded a statement to Changing America arguing that NIAID has been a target of misleading animal rights organizations.
The AMP also linked to a Washington Post opinion piece, which was critical of the media’s coverage of the story.
Some of the experiments and euthanization of beagles took place to develop a dog vaccine against leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that affects canines and humans, AMP wrote. The research led with beagles because dogs are typically the host of leishmaniasis. The disease would then carry onto humans via sand fly bites.
One of the three projects the White Coat Waste Project claimed used tax dollars was not funded by the NIAID nor the NIH, AMP wrote, adding that the photo above came from that project.
For those projects it was involved with, the NIH took extreme caution ensuring the beagles involved in studies did not suffer, AMP wrote, contradicting White Coat Waste Project’s claims that puppies were being “eaten alive” by flies.
In his Post column, Dana Milbank wrote, “The Food and Drug Administration requires researchers to experiment on non-rodent mammals for certain classes of HIV-AIDS drugs, and for this study specifically recommended dogs. It is necessary to use young dogs (six to eight months) to assess whether the drugs retard growth. It is mandatory that the dogs be euthanized so researchers can search for damage to organ systems. And it is recommended by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care that the dogs undergo cordectomies to reduce anxiety (in dogs) and hearing loss (in humans) from barking.”
Note: This story was updated on Oct. 28, 2021 with information from Americans for Medical Progress and the Washington Post. It was further edited on Jan. 26, 2022 for clarity.
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