Sick puppies: Fauci under fire from lawmakers after reports of US taxpayer money spent on cruel drug experiments on dogs

Members of Congress are demanding answers from White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci after it came to light that his agency funded experiments that included cutting the vocal cords of beagle puppies to silence their cries.

“We write with grave concerns about reports of costly, cruel and unnecessary taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs commissioned by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),” 24 Republican and Democrat lawmakers said on Thursday in a letter to Fauci. The letter noted that as director of NIAID, Fauci had directed $1.68 million in taxpayer money to fund medical testing on at least 44 beagle puppies in 2018 and 2019.

An invoice sent to NIAID included a line item for “cordectomy,” a procedure in which the animal’s vocal cords were slit “to prevent them from barking, howling or crying,” the letter said.

This cruel procedure, which is opposed with rare exceptions by the American Veterinary Medical Association and others, seems to have been performed so that experimenters would not have to listen to the pained cries of the beagle puppies. This is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.

The signatories to the letter, including such congressional representatives as Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) and Ted Lieu (D-California), pointed out that the FDA has said that experimentation on dogs isn’t required for approval of new drugs.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci (inset) has been accused of funding experiments on beagles (file photo)
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They demanded to know how many such tests NIAID has funded since 2018 and how much money was spent. The representatives also asked Fauci to explain why he has continued to commission testing on dogs, inasmuch as it’s not required, and what his agency has done to find non-animal alternatives. In addition, they sought more details on the cordectomies, such as the cost and reasoning behind the unnecessary procedure, as well as information on whether dogs have been made available for adoption upon conclusion of the testing.

The testing on beagles was exposed in August, when a nonprofit group called the White Coat Waste Project (WCW) obtained documents on the experiments under the Freedom of Information Act. The group alleged that Fauci has directed funding of “wasteful and brutal” beagle experiments at labs in Tunisia, California and Georgia. Such research was also done at the headquarters of the National Institute of Health (NIH), parent of NIAID.

Dubbing the controversy ‘BeagleGate’, WCW said US-funded research at the Tunisia lab involved drugging puppies and locking their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies to infect them with disease-causing parasites. Researchers also locked beagles in cages overnight in the desert to use them as bait to attract sand flies.

The aim was to test an experimental drug on the diseased beagles. The dogs were six to eight months old, and they were all killed and dissected upon completion of the tests, according to WCW. NIAID-backed research at the University of Georgia involved injecting beagles with experimental vaccines and infesting them with parasites, the group has said.

WCW also claims to have been first to expose that US taxpayer money had funded gain-of-function research on viruses at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. The firestorm over dog testing adds to the controversies surrounding Fauci, who had testified to Congress that he didn’t fund gain-of-function research. The NIH admitted this week in response to a congressional letter that its funding had been used to conduct gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.

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As the US government’s highest-paid employee, Fauci oversees the NIAID’s $6 billion budget, including research grants. News of the congressional response to the beagle experiments raised fresh online outrage on Saturday.

For some observers, the taxpayer-funded puppy experiments raised questions about testing on humans. “Wait until they find out about the human experiments,” conservative pundit Candace Owens told her 2.9 million Twitter followers.

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