We have major news!
The government’s watchdog office is about to begin its first-ever audit of billions in spending on and transparency about federal experiments on dogs and millions of other animals–and it’s because of White Coat Waste Project and our dedicated supporters.
As outlined in the original post below, our December 2016 “Spending to Death” report exposed how more than 1,000 beagles, hounds, mutts–even puppies–are tormented in painful, secretive and expensive experiments each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies. The report prompted more than 90,000 of our supporters to contact Congress, which led a bipartisan coalition of Congress members the House (read below) and Senate to ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate.
In the House, Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) led the request supported by Reps. Beyer (D-VA), Costello (R-PA), Grijalva (D-AZ), McCollum (D-MN), Marino (R-PA), Paulsen (R-MN), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Royce (R-CA), Simpson (R-ID), Tsongas (D-MA) and Walters (R-CA).
On the Senate side, Sens. Booker (D-NJ), Shaheen (D-NH) and Warren (D-MA) led the charge.
The GAO only pursues a small fraction of the requests it receives from Congress, but we are thrilled to announce that they have agreed to conduct this audit that will help shed light on the amount of waste, abuse and secrecy occurring in government animal laboratories. We broke the news on an exclusive town hall call last week with Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). As POLITICO first reported,
GAO WILL REVIEW ANIMAL RESEARCH TRANSPARENCY: The Government Accountability Office has agreed to a bipartisan request to review how the federal government conducts animal research, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) told callers to a telephone town hall late Thursday. The event was organized by the White Coat Waste Project, a nonprofit that advocates against taxpayer funding of animal research. “Their review is going to take some time,” Titus said. “I’m proud it is now underway; they’ve accepted it, and this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves.”
Titus and Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) joined 11 other lawmakers in a December letter to the GAO to request the study. The topic has received renewed focus after USDA scrubbed its website of animal-welfare documents and related data earlier this month, generating public outcry for the agency to restore the information. Some of the material has since been returned to the site.
If you haven’t already, urge your Members of Congress to take action to end wasteful and cruel government experiments on dogs.
Originally published on December 13, 2016
Just weeks after White Coat Waste Project released its “Spending to Death” report exposing the federal government’s nightmarish experimentation on dogs–and our supporters sent more than 57,000 emails to their Senators and Representatives–bipartisan members of U.S. Congress are taking action to end secrecy and waste in government animal laboratories.
As reported in a McClatchy News feature that ran in papers nationwide, the Los Angeles Times, Rare, The Week, Houston Press, and other outlets, a bipartisan group of influential Congress members led by Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) has submitted a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a first-ever audit of spending, accountability, and transparency in billion-dollar government animal experimentation programs. The GAO audit request was co-signed by 11 other influential members of powerful Congressional committees: Reps. Beyer (D-VA), Costello (R-PA), Grijalva (D-AZ), McCollum (D-MN), Marino (R-PA), Paulsen (R-MN), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Royce (R-CA), Simpson (R-ID), Tsongas (D-MA) and Walters (R-CA).
In their request, the Members cite their own research, WCW’s “Spending to Death” report, and other controversies, writing,
“Recent cases of abuse, waste and accountability gaps documented by independent organizations have highlighted the need for additional scrutiny of intramural animal research programs at federal facilities”
The bipartisan letter asks GAO to conduct a study to determine how much money federal agencies spend on conducting animal experiments, how many animals they use, and what systems are in place to inform the public about “the purpose, status, outcomes and cost of all recent and ongoing animal research and testing projects.” They also request information on investments in superior alternatives to animal testing and how agencies report abuses in their animal laboratories.
The Members explain,
“Unfortunately, we have discovered it is impossible to determine what federal animal research programs currently entail, what they cost and if they meet federal standards because of the limited and decentralized information available publicly. Federal agencies are not currently required to publicly report their total use of animals in research, do not publish noncompliance reports and generally do not maintain searchable databases of animal research projects with information about their purpose, methods, results, and cost.
In addition to concerns about public disclosure, recent Congressional Research Service inquiries by Members of Congress reveal that some agencies do not internally track their laboratory animal use, what animal research projects they are conducting, or what these projects cost.
Such transparency and accounting deficiencies prevent assessments by Congress and the public of the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of what we estimate to be a multi-billion-dollar government enterprise.”
Experts agree that experiments on dogs and other animals are wasteful. The National Institutes of Health reports that 95% of drugs that work in animal tests fail in humans because they don’t work or are actually dangerous, and that “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.”
Yet, federal agencies continue to spend untold billions each year on this futile and outdated research with little accountability to Congress or taxpayers–but that could soon change.
If you haven’t yet, please contact your Members of Congress and urge them to help end wasteful experiments on dogs and other animals in government laboratories.