Anthony Fauci Facing Quiz Over NIH Funding for 'De-barking' Beagle Puppies

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking answers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci about funding that was provided for experiments on beagle puppies.

Twenty-four members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of NIH.

The letter was prompted by the nonprofit group White Coat Waste which obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act that appear to show NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer money for experiments on beagle puppies in a lab in Tunisia.

Those experiments reportedly involved testing drugs on the animals and in some cases, they were "de-barked" through a procedure called a cordectomy.

The lawmakers, led by Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina's 1st congressional district, wrote to Fauci on October 21 with a number of questions about the matter that they want to be answered by November 19.

"We write with grave concerns about reports of costly, cruel, and unnecessary taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs commissioned by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases," the lawmakers wrote.

Pointing to White Coat Waste and media reports, the members of the House wrote that "from October 2018 until February 2019, NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies.

"The dogs were all between six and eight months old. The commissioned tests involved injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them.

"Of particular concern is the fact that the invoice to NIAID included a line item for 'cordectomy.' As you are likely aware, a cordectomy, also known as 'devocalization,' involves slitting a dog's vocal cords in order to prevent them from barking, howling, or crying," the letter went on.

"This cruel procedure - which is opposed with rare exceptions by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and others - seems to have been performed so that experimenters would not have to listen to the pained cries of the beagle puppies. This is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds," the lawmakers said.

The letter noted that this does not appear to be the only instance where NIH-funded experiments on beagles. On its website, White Coat Waste says there have been four such experiments in four different locations around the world.

The lawmakers want to know how many drug tests have been performed on dogs since January 2018 and what the cost has been. They also want to know why these tests have taken place even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require new drugs to be tested on dogs, among other questions.

In addition to Mace, the following members of the House signed the letter: Cindy Axne (D-IA), Cliff Bentz (R-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Andrew Gabarino (R-NY), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Fred Keller (R-PA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Lisa McClain (R-MI), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Brian Mast (R-FL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Scott Perry (R-PA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Maria Salazar (R-FL), Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Daniel Webster (R-FL).

Anthony Fauci Listens During a Senate Hearing
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. A group of lawmakers is seeking answers from Fauci about experiments on puppies. Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images