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Since its founding in 1980, PETA has called for an end to the federal gravy train that funnels billions of tax dollars each year into cruel and antiquated experiments on animals. An estimated 47 percent of the grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—the largest public funder of biomedical experimentation worldwide—pays for experiments that use dogs, rats, monkeys, mice, and other animals as "models" of human physiology. The American people are being taken for a ride by those conducting this work, which rarely results in cures or effective treatments for humans.
NIH itself has acknowledged the failure of experiments on animals to produce human-relevant results. In its most recent five-year plan, the agency stated that "animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies."
Nonetheless, it continues to fund these dead-end experiments with your tax dollars. Please ask Congress to cut NIH funding for these cruel experiments and to redirect that money to fund modern, human-relevant research methods. The following are just a few examples—that PETA has exposed—of the stunning ways in which NIH wastes our money and supports the torment of animals:
- Hamster fights: More than $3 million have been given to experimenters at Northeastern University so that they can inject hamsters with cocaine and other aggression-inducing drugs and then force them to fight each other. This experiment is so ridiculous that it made the "Wastebook" of government spending put out each year by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
- Crippled dogs: Almost $10 million has been spent on another project that exemplifies NIH's apparent "if something hasn't worked for decades, keep funding it" philosophy. For more than 30 years, Joe Kornegay bred dogs to develop crippling muscular dystrophy, and experiments on them continue. The animals struggle to walk and even swallow as their muscles deteriorate. The experiments haven't led to a cure or even a treatment to reverse disease symptoms. Yet NIH funding continues to pour in—supporting the breeding of colonies of afflicted dogs at the University of Missouri, the University of Washington, and elsewhere.
- Rewarding incompetence: Hundreds of millions of dollars have been given by NIH to the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Based on what we've seen, we wouldn't trust Pitt to change our light bulbs. A PETA investigation revealed that mice there have drowned in flooded cages or died of thirst. A veterinarian carried out a painful procedure without using proper anesthetics. Rabbits died from improper diets. Mice's intestines were intentionally punctured so that bacteria would leak into their abdominal cavities and cause septic shock. And NIH continued to fund this experiment even after a landmark study determined that the results of sepsis experiments in mice can't be applied to humans.
- Primates as products: NIH paid nearly $7 million to infamous primate importer and dealer Primate Products, Inc. (PPI). While NIH was keeping monkeys at PPI to use in experiments, PETA's eyewitness investigation was uncovering the deprivation and misery experienced by the animals imprisoned there. Monkeys were forced to live in their own waste, subjected to violent handling, and left to suffer for days with painful injuries, including exposed bones. They were subjected to tail amputations and tooth extractions without adequate painkillers. After we went public with our investigation, PPI was cited for more than 25 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. NIH suspended its contracts with PPI—but only temporarily.
Here are a just a couple of examples of PETA's successful campaigns to end wasteful NIH spending and save animals from experimenters, something that Congress could continue to do today:
- Baby monkey torture: More than $35 million was given by NIH to one of its own experimenters so that he could intentionally induce depression, anxiety, and fear in baby monkeys. Infants were torn away from their mothers, stuffed into tiny cages, and then terrorized with loud noises. Another torture session involved drugging monkey mothers and taping over their nipples. Their babies were filmed frantically trying to wake them up. The experimenter responsible for this cruelty admitted publicly that his results are not relevant to human mental illness, but NIH funded these experiments for more than 30 years. It was only after PETA launched a dynamic yearlong campaign against the inhumane and wasteful experiments that NIH finally pulled the plug and ended the studies.
- The infamous case of Double Trouble: More than $3 million in taxpayer money was given by NIH to the University of Wisconsin–Madison so that experimenters there could torment cats. After a lengthy legal battle with the university to obtain photos of invasive experiments involving cats, PETA released a shocking exposé showing that some of the animals—including one named Double Trouble—were subjected to invasive surgeries on their ears, skull, and brain. Double Trouble woke up in the middle of one of these procedures. Cats were chemically deafened and then deprived of food in order to make them comply during procedures. This experiment proved to be useless: No peer-reviewed papers were ever published as a result of it, and it was deemed a failure. It was part of a larger project supported by the agency, even though the lead experimenter admitted that "our goal is not to produce a clinical treatment or a cure." PETA's campaign ended the experiment, the laboratory was closed, and the surviving cats were adopted.
With your help, we can end these funding fiascos and the torment to animals that they cause.
Here's what we're demanding of NIH:
- Immediately stop funding animal experiments in studies that have proved to be utterly useless.
- Begin a critical analysis of other areas of animal experimentation to determine which ones should also not be funded.
- Divert money from animal studies to the development of human-relevant, non-animal research methods.
We need lawmakers to understand how much money NIH currently wastes. Please send a polite e-mail to your members of Congress urging them to mandate that NIH stop throwing away taxpayer money on cruel, useless animal experiments and instead focus on modern, non-animal methods of research.
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