Six years ago, a plucky new nonprofit called The White Coat Waste Project (where I serve as a Fellow) launched its first investigation exposing the US government’s numerous, tortuous, testing programs on puppies.
One of the worst that they discovered was at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) where they were using taxpayer dollars to drill holes into beagles’ skulls, collapse the lungs of “friendly” dogs, inject latex into the puppies’ arteries, cut out the hearts of living dogs, inject dobermans with methamphetamines, and force hound dogs to run on treadmills for heart attack tests. They did all this without administering any pain medicines or anesthesia.
All in all, 216 dogs were abused annually across VA labs, including 111 in the government’s most painful experiments.
(If anyone ever tries to tell you “taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society,” show them this).
But in a historic victory, the VA just announced it has shut down the last of its gross puppy experiments, which were taking place in their Richmond, VA lab. While this development should absolutely be applauded, it’s worth noting that it came as a result of six years’ worth of lawsuits, whistleblowers, media coverage, investigations, and campaigns carried out by WCW to raise awareness on the issue.
In the process, the campaign gained the attention of the National Academies of Sciences, which—after looking into the matter—stated that many of the VA’s puppy experiments were unnecessary, wasteful, cruel, and in need of reform. That’s a significant development that could impact policies around animal testing even more broadly as the National Academies of Science holds a lot of sway around DC.
Anthony Belloti, the President of WCW, said the following in response to the news. “Our campaign spared countless dogs and cut millions in government waste as we enacted precedent-setting state and federal bipartisan legislation to defund the VA’s dog experiments, secured a historic National Academies of Sciences report criticizing VA dog tests, won free speech lawsuits, launched explosive national front page media, supported brave government whistleblowers, rallied Republicans and Democrats in Congress, united liberty-lovers and animal-lovers from coast to coast, and fired up a grassroots army to wage the most effective campaign to end dog experiments in American history.”
As Belloti pointed out later in his statement, WCW is the only organization to have achieved something of this magnitude in over 20 years.
“We’re proud to be the only organization in nearly two decades to shut down government dog labs, and now we are the only group to have shuttered dog experiments across an entire federal agency. Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to bankroll beagle abuse by bureaucrats in white lab coats. Today’s news confirms the solution: Stop the money. Stop the madness!”
Animal abuse, and especially its funding with taxpayer dollars, is an issue just about every American can stand against. Unfortunately, old establishment animal rights groups spend their time throwing red paint on people instead of cutting red tape in Washington and going after the top culprit of animal abuse in this country: the US government.
In fact, since 2007, no other group has shut down a single government dog lab (for contrast, this is the third WCW has shut down in 2022 alone). These advocacy efforts have laid the groundwork and can easily be replicated and extended to apply towards other governmental departments. But we have to keep the pressure on and continue raising awareness about these practices.
Hannah Cox is a fellow at The White Coat Waste Project.