Do you remember what happened on March 16, 2020?
The CDC issued its “15 Days to Slow the Spread” order. The COVID lockdowns began.
U.S. coronavirus cases surged to a then-record level: 3,000.
The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to another record level: zero.
And the “STOKES SISTERS” were born:
They’re called “blotched tabbies.” The name comes from the pretty swirl pattern on their fur.
The Stokes VA Medical Center (VA) in Cleveland purchased these kittens for experimentation. So, the ‘Stokes Sisters’ spent their lives in a government lab.
Well, MOST of their lives…
Here at the White Coat Waste Project (WCW), we have a proven strategy to follow the money, cut wasteful government spending, and end animal experiments.
THEN, we retire as many survivors as we can to the taxpayers who pay the bills.
It’s called FOIA to Freedom. Here’s how we did it for the Stokes Sisters.
CRUELTY IN CLEVELAND
WCW launched a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) investigation to find out how white coats at the Stokes VA were wasting our tax money.
And what we found was terrible: a $3.4 million payout for experiments on kittens, some as young as six months old.
Severed spines. Crippled for life. Seizures. Bloody urine. Even depression.
Photos, videos, and lab documents we obtained revealed painful and mutilating surgeries on kittens, with electrodes implanted to remotely stimulate their bladders or colons.
Other kittens had artificial stool made from “bran, potato flour and saline” inserted into their anuses.
Almost gives new meaning to government waste, doesn’t it?
Some of their spinal cords were severed while they were still alive.
Some had already been killed and dissected, like Odie:
Once the checks cleared the bank and the experiments finished, the Stokes protocol explicitly called for all kitten survivors to be destroyed.
The odds were against us.
We campaigned hard to beat the clock and free the imprisoned Stokes Sisters before it was too late.
Bottom line: the Stokes Sisters were P.O.W.s — prisoners of WASTE!
THE RESCUE MISSION
To free these federal hostages, we took a page from our own playbook: F.E.D.
Step 1: Find Gov’t Waste. You’ve seen why FOIA is so important. Nobody knew what was happening at Stokes.
Step 2: Expose Gov’t Waste. We launched an all-out media blitz to get international press attention.
VA Continues to ‘Torture’ Cats in Medical Research, Rights Group Claims https://t.co/hg5zKSnQHJ
— Military.com (@Militarydotcom) August 5, 2020
We ran ads like this:
We got celebrities, too:
— Alicia Silverstone (@AliciaSilv) October 22, 2020
Step 3: Defund Gov’t Waste. We united powerful Republicans and Democrats in Congress to cut the federal purse strings.
Heroes like this:
For years, the @DeptVetAffairs has used taxpayer dollars to conduct harmful tests on cats that include performing invasive surgeries on them, damaging their spinal cords, and ultimately killing them. Today @RepBrianMast and I are demanding answers about these shameful practices. pic.twitter.com/GSsrsYfWWr
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) August 11, 2020
A silver lining of spending so much time at home is that I’ve finally figured out what my #cat does all day. Can’t imagine this difficult time without our furry friends.
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) December 3, 2020
To WIN BIG like this:
Taxpayer money should have never gone into cruel cat and monkey experiments in the first place. This is good news for animal lovers across our country.https://t.co/BFvwc9mJ5E
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) November 16, 2021
FROM LAB CATS TO LAP CATS
WCW’s grassroots army — 3 million animal lovers and liberty lovers — was now fully mobilized for the War on Waste.
Taxpayers bought the Stokes Sisters. We demanded the government #GiveThemBack!
Following WCW’s campaign, VA white coats modified the protocol to let the Stokes Sisters be adopted.
WHY IT MATTERS
Every ‘FOIA to Freedom’ story is a tremendous victory — and tremendously rare.
Labs rarely shut down. Survivors rarely get out.
So, when we discover individual animals via FOIA, close their labs, and ALSO succeed at getting survivors retired…it’s a very BIG deal.
Yet we’ve done it time and time again. WCW has:
And now the Stokes Sisters.
Every FOIA to Freedom story shows why Violet’s Law is so important.
WCW’s bipartisan, bicameral legislation — named after the most famous of all lab survivors — will make retirement a requirement across the entire federal government.
Please tell Congress to pass Violet’s Law (A.K.A., the AFTER Act) NOW!