In August 2021, as part of our #BeagleGate series of exposés, White Coat Waste Project (WCW) revealed that taxpayers had paid $375,000 for experiments in Tunisia, where beagles were bitten again and again and again by infectious sand flies. In one test, beagles were drugged and locked in cages full of hungry flies. In another, dogs were stuck in cages outside overnight and used as fly bait.
The images of these experiments that we discovered in one particular scientific paper, which cited funding from Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), went mega-viral.
Then, suddenly, months after WCW’s initial exposé and months after the paper had been published, NIAID denied funding the dogs-in-cages experiment, and the journal issued a correction removing their name as the funding source. Gee, how convenient for them! (And how about the fact that the editor of the journal is a dog experimenter who works for Fauci at NIAID? Another weird coincidence).
The sudden reversal, the convenient timing, the conflicts of interest from the journal’s editor…it all seemed a little bit (more like a lotta bit) fishy to us.
Nevertheless, NIAID’s sudden disavowal gave Fauci-loving “fact-checkers” just enough ammunition to try to smear us. The Washington Post (WaPo) led the charge — despite the fact that they covered our work in glowing terms when it criticized people other than Dr. Fauci. (Funny how that works).
Despite their best efforts, the attacks fell flat — because we stand by our work. Our supporters (including investigative reporter Leighton Woodhouse and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald) made it clear that WaPo’s attempts to “debunk” us were nakedly political and utterly meritless.
We had already filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get more information about NIAID’s Tunisian experiments, long before the journal did an about-face, and before ‘fact-checkers’ tried to slime us.
Now, after months of slow-walking our requests, NIAID has finally turned over the first tranche of documents, which are available at the bottom of this blog. And guess what? Your tax dollars DID fund wasteful and cruel sand fly experiments on dogs…in Tunisia…performed by the same group of white coats.
Here’s how the white coats described their experiments in the NIAID-approved application:
Unconscious dogs in cages, swarmed by biting, infectious sand flies? Wow, that sure sounds familiar…
In its original denial statement, NIAID claimed that the only experiment it funded in Tunisia involved vaccinating dogs, who would then be “let out in an enclosed open space.” Yet the quotes above are directly from the experimenters themselves, and involve locking drugged dogs in cages with biting flies.
Here’s a picture from the grant application. Does this look like an “open space” to you?
Once again…color us unconvinced. NIAID is turning over the documents we requested as slowly as possible, but we are continuing to poke and prod them until they do. As we get more information, we will share it with you.
Taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize puppy torture in Tunisia — or anywhere else, for that matter. The PAAW Act, which would prohibit NIAID from performing or funding any more painful dog experiments, is the best way to keep experiments like this from happening again. So…what are you waiting for?