According to a report released Tuesday by conservative animal rights group The White Coat Waste Project, the Veterans' Administration (VA), Department of Defense (DoD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2015 1,183 dogs were subjected to experiments involving induced heart attacks, forced vomiting, skull-drilling and more.
In August, news broke that researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia were being sued for blinding, then killing, six beagles used in a project that was taxpayer-funded.
The exact total cost of the experiments is unknown, but for just one NIH project involving heart attacks, taxpayers have forked over almost $6 million in five years.
White Coat Waste says that cost should be multiplied many times over to get a rough estimate of the price-tag for these experiments, noting in its report that NIH itself concedes that "simply housing and feeding a single dog in NIH laboratories costs taxpayers $7,555 per year."
According to the Washington Post, "One 2015 NIH contract listed a cost of $13,795 for a 'Beagle canine (male) 10-13 kgs, 2 years old.' A line item on a 2016 VA contract was $4,207 for 'three male mongrels.'"
White Coat Waste wants to stop the cruel and painful experiments, but even more than that, they want transparency so that taxpayers can know what they're paying for and how much it's costing.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) supports efforts to improve transparency and curtail experimentation. He told the Post, "Finding effective ways to limit unnecessary and expensive animal tests is good for taxpayers and is good for our animals… As a member of the Appropriations Committee that funds these agencies, I certainly welcome more analysis on what federal agencies are doing in terms of testing on dogs and other animals. I look forward to collaborating with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in Congress to address this problem."
Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is also a supporter of anti-experimentation and transparency measures, and spoke at a Capitol Hill unveiling of the report on Tuesday.
White Coat Waste says that even President-elect Donald Trump may be on their side on this issue, since he has been critical of NIH waste before.
According to White Coat Waste, 44 percent of American households have a dog as a pet, and 95 percent of pet owners consider them to be family.
White Coat Waste further contends that 75 percent of Americans support phasing out dog and cat experimentation, 59 percent want government funding for such experiments cut, and 66 percent think there should be transparency regarding taxpayer-funded animal experimentation.