Fauci’s puppy testing allegations highlight ethical issues in animal testing

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Graphic by Madison Faries

Whether you are a cat or dog person, everybody loves their pets as if they were family by blood. Animal testing has been an ethical debate for decades, and recent Fauci allegations of torturing beagle puppies for medical testing are causing an uproar across the internet. Is it true? What does our future hold in regards to animal testing? 

The allegation is whether or not Fauci is to blame for the 44 beagle puppies that are being trapped and drugged in mess cages to be eaten alive by sandflies in a lab in Tunisia. Photos from this experiment are also circulating around the internet. According to documents exposed by the White Coat Waste Project, a taxpayer watchdog group, $1.68 million in taxpayer money is funding the experiments.

Several news outlets are coming out with their opinions on this issue. If it’s from the right-leaning media, Fauci is guilty. If it’s left-leaning media, Fauci is innocent. Despite the affiliation with the experiments, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) strictly denies that it provided funding for the experiments to occur. 

According to a Forbes article, the NIAID said that the organization does not support the specific research under prosecution right now, claiming that the photos circulating are incorrectly associated with NIAID and that it is really NIH-associated. Both companies are involved with Fauci and his research. 

Despite specific rules and regulations required for conducting experiments on animals, the regulations put in place are not humane at all. Still, these companies fly just under the radar. 

According to a Washington Post article on this topic, the FDA requires companies that perform animal research to use 6-8 week old puppies since they need “non-rodent mammals,” and it is mandatory for them to euthanize the pups after the testing to study for damaged organs. 

The Washington Post article also states that the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care suggests that the dogs being tested on should undergo cordectomies (a debarking procedure) to prevent anxiety for the dogs and hearing loss for humans. 

Another article by Politifact covers what the White Coat Waste Project reported, stating that it was 100 percent true that Fauci’s NIH section funded them. 

The NIAID then claims they are doing a different study with 12 dogs, rather than the 44 they had stated, immunizing the dogs and letting them roam to study their behavior. The 12 dogs in NIAID’s study were not sedated, trapped in cages or fed to sandflies. 

With these allegations coming out, and while animal testing has become a hot topic in recent years, PETA saw an opportunity to step in. The Biden administration has a rare opportunity to adopt new science practices while steering away from animal testing. The PETA organization has therefore outlined a plan on how to eliminate animal testing. 

Overall, animal testing is outdated and overused. We can encourage change towards cruel testing and direct our efforts towards cruelty-free and effective research, especially among college students, as they are the ones moving up in the scientific world and will continue to advance the field.

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