Before the pandemic, most Americans (myself included) were blissfully unaware of the staggering amounts of tax dollars our government has been shipping overseas to fund animal torture in foreign labs.
Admittedly, as bad as I understood our government to be, I still didn’t have puppy and kitten torture on my bingo card for government corruption. Silly me.
But awareness of these realities has continued to spread in large part thanks to the White Coat Waste Project (where I am a fellow). The organization’s numerous FOIAs (Freedom of Information Acts) have revealed atrocities in labs ranging from China to Tunisia, most notoriously in the infamous Wuhan lab.
Still, while the pressure campaign to defund these experiments has risen, the actions by the federal government have been mostly piecemeal—until now. President Biden recently issued an executive order halting the flow of all US dollars for Russian research as the US continues its proxy war in the conflict between Russian President Vladmir Putin against Ukraine. And as a result, the NIH announced it will cease all funding for work in Russian labs.
While the reasoning for the action may be wrapped up in foreign conflicts and US involvement we disagree with at BASEDPolitics, we can always celebrate any cease in government funding—particularly for inhumane projects like animal torture.
And the action is no small feat. In 2021, White Coat Waste (WCW) revealed the NIH was sending tax dollars to Kremlin-run Russian animal labs (as well as hundreds of other foreign labs) for experiments with practically no oversight. No surprise there.
In 2022, just one week after Russia invaded Ukraine, the NIH sent another $770,000 to the Russian government-owned Pavlov Institute of Physiology to experiment on cats. The experiments took healthy cats, damaged their brains, implanted electrodes into their spines, and then forced them to walk on treadmills. That funding was set to continue through May of 2023.
Someone make it make sense. We’re funding a country we’re fighting a proxy war with to torture cats? Honestly, for our government, that tracks.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the government has ever defunded labs in an entire country, carte blanche.
WCW Founder and President, Anthony Bellotti, said, “Over 75% of Republicans and Democrats agree: taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay millions to Putin’s white coats to torture animals in wasteful experiments— and now, following our campaign, they won’t have to.”
Anyone who supports big government and the increasing tax burden on the American people bears responsibility for these kinds of actions. It is inevitable that the government, any government, given this much money and power will become corrupt and use the taxes it collects for nefarious purposes.
This is one of many reasons why our founders argued for an extremely limited federal government that is only able to involve itself in a select number of issues. Animal torture/experimentation was definitely not among them—nor are the numerous scientific matters the government is currently involved in. And when you allow the government to get involved for “feel good” reasons, they will inevitably also begin doing things like this.
It’s good we’ve ceased funding in these Russian labs. But it’s inexcusable we’re still funding this exact same thing in other countries, particularly enemies like China.
Hannah Cox is a Fellow at White Coat Waste Project.