When we recently started seeing media headlines like “Gene-editing experiment turns cute hamsters into ‘aggressive’ beasts,” we knew that only taxpayer-funded white coats and government bureaucrats would conceive of (and bankroll) such wacky waste and animal abuse.
Sure enough, we were right — and we have the receipts. And now, thanks to a new White Coat Waste Project (WCW) investigation, we have the videos too:
Our review of government spending databases found that white coats at Georgia State University (GSU) received over $1.5 million of your money, via the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). How did they spend your money? Maximum-pain experiments. First, they genetically engineered hamsters, then they drilled into their skulls, and finally, they pitted the hamsters against one another in staged, scored fights.
Hard to believe, right? Well, thanks to WCW, you can see for yourself. Because when we requested more details via the Georgia Open Records Act, we obtained these troubling videos of GSU’s hamster fight club:
In the taxpayer-funded experiments, Syrian hamsters were genetically modified and bred to have a nonfunctional gene that controls, among other things, aggression. These ‘knockout’ hamsters (pun intended?) were placed alongside non-genetically modified hamsters, and their behavior was studied.
The experimenters expected the genetically-modified hamsters to be bullied, but they turned out to be the bullies instead. (As usual, the white coats were wrong). The engineered hamsters exhibited more aggressive behavior than their peers. They were “scored for aggressive behavior” by placing them in an “arena” with other hamsters and measuring how much time they spent “chasing, biting, and pinning” them. The engineered hamsters marked their territory more frequently, too.
The experimenters also drilled holes in the hamsters’ skulls, screwed devices into their heads and implanted tubes in their brains.
Giving hamsters brain surgery, then watching them fight and pee. Wow.
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) June 6, 2022
Whether genetically-modified or not, there were no winners in the hamster fight club:
Federal reports submitted by GSU show that these experiments were classified in Pain Category E — meaning they were painful, and pain relief was deliberately withheld from the suffering animals.
Upon the conclusion of the experiments, all the hamsters were killed.
Unfortunately for taxpayers (once again), you wouldn’t know that your tax dollars paid for these experiments. GSU’s press release about the ‘hamster fight club’ experiments makes no mention whatsoever of taxpayer funding, meaning the press release violates longstanding federal transparency law known as the Stevens Amendment. Sadly, as we have detailed many times, most recently in our ‘Up In Smoke’ report, Stevens Amendment violations by rogue labs are incredibly widespread. Although the federal government is aware of the problem, reform has been very slow.
‘Hamster fight club’ is not an unusual experiment for taxpayer-funded white coats. In fact, this was far from the first animal ‘fight club’ paid for with your tax dollars.
In 2016, we exposed that Harvard experimenters received $890,663 from NIH to breed aggressive mice and force them to fight one another in scored matches. (They even called their experiment “Fight Club” — no subtlety here!)
Congress has also uncovered that the National Science Foundation (NSF) ‘shelled’ out over $700,000 to Duke University in 2015 so white coats could study the “punching power” of shrimp. Experimenters pitted Mantis shrimp against one another in videotaped fights, concluding that “it wasn’t the shrimp who hit hardest who won the bout, but the one who hit the most frequently.”
#EXCLUSIVE: A study that purported to find the gene behind aggression in hamsters is now under fire for unnecessary cruelty, according to a watchdog organization.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 3, 2022
Taxpayer-funded animal fight clubs have you seeing red? The solution is the COST Act — bicameral, WCW-backed legislation to make rogue labs like the Hamster Fight Club disclose how much they’re spending, or risk having their cash withheld. Contact Congress, and tell them to pass the COST Act today!