Limited government types have always taken the position that the power of government needs to be restricted because, no matter how good the intentions, central planning creates many secondary effects that are often worse than the problems society seeks to solve in the first place.
But after several years of working around politics and government, I’m beginning to think we need to limit the government because it seems to often employ and empower absolute psychopaths. Recent revelations out of Louisville, Kentucky back me up on that.
Thanks to a 2019 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the White Coat Waste Project (where I am a Fellow), requesting photos, videos, invoices, veterinary records, and grant applications from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, we now know the following. The VA spent $1.3 million in a Louisville based lab to basically torture kittens. Yes, really.
First they purchased dozens of kittens for $881 a piece (aren’t you glad you work so hard for your taxes to pay for this?). Then they damaged their spine and forced the cats to complete obstacle courses. You can see some of the photos obtained by the WCW here, but honestly they’re too gruesome for me to insert.
If the kittens survived that game of Saw, they were then passed on to another lab where they had their legs mutilated and their brain stems cut out. Basically this process turns them into zombies, and they were then made to run on treadmills. Again, you can see videos of this at the link above, but I think for most of us, just the description is more than enough to turn the stomach.
Thankfully, after exposing this information, the WCW was able to get these labs shut down—the latest in a long-line of victories the organization has had versus government animal labs. This comes as a result of a bipartisan effort to reveal and scrutinize these activities in Louisville. A group of 30 bipartisan members of Congress worked to defund the VA’s kitten experiments, and introduced another bill (the CATS Act) that would permanently strip the VA of this kind of experimental funding as well.
For years, the @DeptVetAffairs has used taxpayer dollars to conduct harmful tests on cats that include performing invasive surgeries on them, damaging their spinal cords, and ultimately killing them. Today @RepBrianMast and I are demanding answers about these shameful practices. pic.twitter.com/GSsrsYfWWr
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) August 11, 2020
The VA’s continued use of taxpayer dollars to conduct painful and invasive experiments on cats is unacceptable. These tests are unnecessary and they must come to an end. It’s time we got some answers! pic.twitter.com/p70GkaXFCO
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) August 11, 2020
While these taxpayer funded, cruel, experiments are ghastly, it is encouraging to see two things. One, people can still come together across the political aisle to stand up against real injustices and find solutions. And two, grassroots advocacy works. WCW is a newer organization that is already making a huge impact with a small staff just by demanding answers and working to call attention to what they find. In an era where many feel hopeless about the state of our political climate, these are positive and encouraging developments.
In the past three years and some change, the WCW also shut down VA kitten labs in Los Angeles and Cleveland, saving taxpayers over $10 million in the process. They were also able to get many of the survivors released into good homes. On top of that, they also eliminated the USDA’s $22 million Kitten Slaughterhouse, which was the federal government’s largest cat lab, and retired every single one of those survivors.
We’re winning on this issue, and we’re going to win more. If wars, lockdowns, inflation, and the largest prison population in the country haven’t yet convinced someone you know it’s time to limit the government, perhaps the taxpayer-funded animal torture will.
Hannah Cox is a fellow at the White Coat Waste Project.