Citing WCW, 19 Bipartisan Lawmakers Press USDA on Dangerous $1M Bird Flu Experiments with China

Posted by Amanda Nieves
12 April 2024 | Blog

 

  • Citing a recent White Coat Waste Project (WCW) investigation, a bipartisan coalition of 19 lawmakers is demanding details from the USDA about its $1 million collaboration on dangerous bird flu gain-of-function experiments with a Wuhan animal lab white coat tied to the Chinese government.
  • In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Congress members write, “This research, funded by American taxpayers, could potentially generate dangerous new lab-created virus strains that threaten our national security and public health.”
  • WCW is leading efforts in Washington to defund all taxpayer-funded collaborations with unaccountable animal labs in China, Russia, and other hostile nations.

In February, a White Coat Waste Project (WCW) investigation exposed how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has wasted at least $1 million of taxpayers’ money on an ongoing collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Chinese Academy of Sciences (the Wuhan animal lab’s parent organization) and a Wuhan lab white coat on dangerous bird flu gain-of-function experiments.

Now, a group of 19 Republican and Democratic Congress members is demanding answers in a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

China Bird Flu Experiments

In the letter spearheaded by Rep. Nick Langworthy (R-NY), who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the lawmakers cite WCW’s recent investigation and write, “We are disturbed by recent reports about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on bird flu research. This research, funded by American taxpayers, could potentially generate dangerous new lab-created virus strains that threaten our national security and public health.”

The Congress members go on to describe the dangers of the animal experiments, which involve repeatedly infecting animals with bird flu viruses using gain-of-function techniques that can make them deadlier to humans, and request details about the USDA’s work with the CCP on the treacherous project.

The letter was co-signed by Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Austin Scott (R-GA), H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), David Valadao (R-CA), Greg Steube (R-FL), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Andy Ogles (R-TN), Bill Posey (R-FL), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Ben Cline (R-VA), Mary Miller (R-IL), Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Scott Perry (R-PA), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Brandon Williams (R-NY).

This isn’t the first time Congress has cited WCW’s investigation and criticized the USDA for misguided collaboration with the CCP on dangerous animal experiments. Senate Agriculture Committee member Joni Ernst (R-IA) sent a pointed letter to Sec. Vilsack in February. Additionally, at a funding hearing last month Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA), who serves on the USDA’s funding panel, cited WCW’s exposé and pressed Sec. Vilsack about the project in person.

A WCW-led coalition also sent a letter last month to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders calling for all USDA funding to be cut for animal labs in China, Russia, and other adversarial nations.

Polls show that 71% of taxpayers across the country—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—want Congress to defund torturous and wasteful foreign adversaries’ animal labs.

You can make your voice heard by urging Congress to pass the Accountability in Foreign Animal Research (AFAR) Act to defund enemies’ animal labs!

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