Congress likes to celebrate the holidays by passing a multi-thousand page, multi-billion dollar spending package each year known as the Omnibus. It’s so big no one knows entirely what all is in it, but as my colleague Brad Polumbo detailed here, we know enough to say it’s pretty bleak.
However, as is usually the case, there are silver linings to be found amidst the darkness in DC—namely that some strong provisions against taxpayer-funded research on animals are currently included. Here’s a quick roundup.
FDA Modernization Act to End Animal Testing Mandates
Currently, there is a senseless mandate to test new drugs on animals, put in place by the FDA. This component, which animal welfare groups and taxpayer watch dogs (pun intended) have been working to pass as a stand alone bill this year, would eliminate that mandate.
The bill has enjoyed bipartisan support, with Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker championing it in the Senate and Representatives Vern Buchanan and Elaine Luria carrying it in the House. The free-market advocacy group, The White Coat Waste Project (where I am a Fellow) has also promoted the legislation along with over 200 other organizations, medical associations, biotech, and patient advocacy groups.
Defunding the DOJ’s “Live Tissue Training” on Animals
Don’t ask me why, but the Department of Justice has spent tens of thousands of your tax dollars stabbing, shooting, burning, and dismembering live animals as part of cruel “live tissue training” exercises.
….And you thought their record on criminal justice was bad.
The DOJ contracted private companies to carry out these experiments on behalf of the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, which was revealed in a lawsuit also filed by the White Coat Waste Project.
Taxpayer watchdog group @WhiteCoatWaste filed a #FreedomofInformationAct lawsuit against the US #DepartmentofJustice for withholding documents related to its stabbing, shooting, and burning of live pigs, goats, and dogs in medical training drills. https://t.co/VDSrKYjpXi
— VegNews (@VegNews) May 29, 2020
Currently, language to defund this practice is included in the Omnibus.
Defunding the VA’s Painful Testing on Dogs, Cats and Primates
Recently, I covered how the work of the White Coat Waste Project and grassroots advocacy shut down yet another lab in Louisville that was owned by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and that was torturing kittens to the tune of $1.3 million.
While this is actually the third such lab they’ve been able to shut down under the VA, the practice of animal torture under the department is still ongoing. But language in the current version of the Omnibus would defund and restrict the VA testing on dogs, cats and primates across the country, and it directs the agency to phase-out this testing entirely by 2025.
Cutting DOD Funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology
A coalition of right-leaning groups led by the WCW called for a complete defunding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the Omnibus last week.
While most now know the government was funding the lab, where questions about the origins of the coronavirus continue to swirl, through the NIH via a passthrough organization (EcoHealth Alliance), the masses may be less aware there were other agencies passing money to Wuhan.
Documents show that the EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan lab also sought funding for dangerous and tortuous gain-of-function research through the Department of Defense as well.
Currently the Omnibus would cut off funding for the lab through the DOD, though it remains eligible for NIH funds to this day. I guess we’ll take what we can get?
Cutting DOD and State Department Funds for EcoHealth Alliance Projects in China
The ties between our unelected bureaucrats in DC and the EcoHealth Alliance organization have become increasingly visible in recent months. By all appearances, the nonprofit is a pet project many in government are using to carry out experiments that wouldn’t fly if the American public knew we were funding them. And we know without a doubt that the agency was used to carry out gain-of-function research in China, even though it was illegal in the US up until 2017.
It is without question that this organization should not receive any more taxpayer dollars. As of right now, the Omnibus limits the agencies that could give this highly questionable organization money, though it too remains eligible for grants through the NIH.
There’s a lot to complain about in the Omnibus package, and we should. Congress should be doing their actual jobs and passing these line items as stand alone bills. But, we have to celebrate small victories where we get them, and many of these are much bigger wins than that. So celebrate we will.
As Justin Goodman of the White Coat Waste Project said, “The bill includes WCW-backed measures that stop white coats from wasting tax dollars to shoot and stab animals in archaic ‘live tissue training,’ intentionally give puppies heart attacks, cripple kittens, and force them to walk on treadmills, inject monkeys with angel dust, or conduct dangerous animal experiments in the notorious Wuhan lab. A majority of taxpayers—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—support these common sense measures to crack down on wasteful government spending that hurts animals, and we applaud lawmakers for listening and taking action. Stop the money, stop the madness.”
Hannah Cox is a fellow at White Coat Waste Project.