White Coat Waste Project: Beyond the Beagles

 

People have been discussing the story of Fauci funding experiments on dogs, which can be rather disturbing. Dogs are wonderful animals, and people do not like to see them suffer. Cruelty toward animals always is undeserved, since animals are not moral agents like we are.

However, this is not sheer cruelty; this is animal experimentation. A massive amount of medical research relies on animal experiments because studies on cells do not capture the whole picture. I honestly do not know if we could safely test new drugs on people without animal studies — it would be much riskier. Animal models behind nearly every medical advance you hear announced in the media.

So what does this have to do with the White Coat Waste Project? I looked on their site, and they never acknowledge animal research could have benefits or could be conducted ethically. I decided to look into their listed backers, and what I found was not entirely surprising.

In short, if you like burgers, these people probably hate your guts.

I look at animal experimentation differently. I regularly work with people in the middle of dissecting mice, and also work with Animal Center veterinarians. I’ve read their policies and seen some of their review process for animal work. You can’t just stuff puppies full of chemicals or pathogens for kicks.

The principles of animal research are the three Rs:

  • Reduction – use fewer animals to accomplish the same goal.
  • Refinement – improve techniques to eliminate suffering that does not directly promote research goals.
  • Replacement – use cell-based or other non-animal methods whenever possible.

These are enforced by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that reviews all animal use at the given university/institute/etc.  It’s not a rubber stamp, and there are animal welfare hotlines maintained in case someone wants to blow the whistle on bad conduct.  Animal welfare gets a higher priority than researcher welfare in some cases – if researchers are cooking because the AC went out, that’s bad.  If lab animals are overheating, that’s a serious crisis that must be fixed immediately.  Animal research facilities have to get accredited like medical facilities do in order to be funded, with regular inspections.  The policy on housing dogs for use in laboratory research specifically includes exercise and play time with animal care techs.  Even rodents need to get enrichment squares that they can use to make a nest.  The standards required are exacting, and researchers can lose funding for violating them.

So if you want to kick Fauci to the curb over puppies, be my guest.  I have made my disgust for the man known.  He’s a disgrace to the profession, and his tendency to exploit loopholes in research rules is just asking for trouble.   Just keep in mind that animal research is a massive component of medical research, so beware throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

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  1. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    The question that came to my mind when I read the original article tying Fauci to the Beagle experiments was why were the projects being conducted in, what was it Libya or Tunisia (can’t remember which), countries not known for cutting edge medical research? If it were legitimate research, why not in more scientifically advanced locations?

    • #1
  2. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Tough but worthwhile post, and one with which I agree.

    I’ve avoided looking into the details of Mr. Fauci’s alleged involvement with animal experimentation (authorizing, funding, whatever). I simply don’t have the stomach for it and would rather not know the details. So I’ll refrain from firmly accusing him of that particular crime.

    His casual dismissal of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration was atrocious. He should have been removed from his position last year. Or perhaps ten years ago. He’s literally anti-science, given his willingness to misrepresent the state of the science and suppress dissenting views.

    • #2
  3. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    OmegaPaladin,

    Kudos for your courage in taking an unpopular position.

    • #3
  4. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    When Mrs Tex flew for FedEx they routinely hauled pallets of caged beagles to Japan. I always assumed it was for research purposes.

    I once (early 80’s) saw a research lab at Wright Patterson AFB where groups of beagles were sealed inside glass enclosures.  A worker feeding one group was in a hazmat suit so I figured they were being exposed to some airborne substance (I’m sure we were told what was going on but I don’t remember).  They didn’t seem abused but when you got anywhere near the enclosures the dogs would stand on their hind legs and wag their tails. Pretty heart breaking.

    • #4
  5. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    The question that came to my mind when I read the original article tying Fauci to the Beagle experiments was why were the projects being conducted in, what was it Libya or Tunisia (can’t remember which), countries not known for cutting edge medical research? If it were legitimate research, why not in more scientifically advanced locations?

    But seriously, I fully support criticizing Fauci for his proven enthusiasm for using taxpayer dollars to fund bio-medical research in countries that don’t have the same ethics and/or safety regulations as the United States. Government officials finding “workarounds” for their own laws is another of the many things that really sticks in my craw. After all, isn’t that just the sort of thing that got Oliver North raked over the coals?

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    OmegaPaladin: In short, if you like burgers, these people probably hate your guts.

    I’ve been hated by better people than they are.

    • #6
  7. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    My daughter worked in cancer research for three or four years before she went to vet school. She served on the lab’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). 

    The standards in American institutions are very high. 

    I haven’t asked her about the beagle experiments. They sounded atrocious and vaguely unnecessary to untrained me. But I don’t know. 

    • #7
  8. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    One thing that annoys me about this story is how much searching one has to do to find out what these specific experiments were actually for. Apparently they were studying various treatments for heartworm. Seems to me like testing treatments for a disease that affects dogs is a fairly valid reason to experiment on dogs, unless you happen to be the sort of person that believes that all animal experimentation should be banned, in which case you should not be a journalist reporting on this story because you’re hopelessly biased on this issue.

    Another thing that annoys me about this story is how many writers bring up examples of horrific-sounding and arguably-unnecessary animal experimentation in general that have absolutely nothing to do with the specific experiments that Fauci was involved with.

    e.g Glenn Greenwald was guilty of this on his substack.  Greenwald’s been getting a lot of love from the right these days because of his reporting on Russiagate, but he (allegedly) has a long history of targeting people he dislikes with guilt-by-association, ad hominem, and non sequitur fallacies. And he does this with Fauci by talking about other people’s animal experimentation rather than reporting on the actual facts of Fauci’s animal experimentation.

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    A half-century ago I was assigned to run a lab in support of animal research at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed. It was a joint service facility. My boss was a veterinarian Air Force major.  He formally objected to a waste of monkeys in a project to study a particular intervention in kidney failure. The tough little bastards refused to develop the expected sequence of symptoms and were suffering and dying without the slightest benefit to science other than to confirm that the experimental model was stupid.

    The PTB squashed him for jeopardizing funding for the bigwig in charge of that research project. So some more monkeys died and I guess the killers then made something up to try to get published. It was a defining lesson for younger me that power, science, money and bureaucracy don’t mix in a good way.

    There is a sense in which it takes more of an effort to maintain ethical standards with animals because they can’t protest. It was nice to work for professionals who really worked to uphold those standards.

    • #9
  10. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    As someone who has experimented on animals, I can tell you that it kills your soul a little at a time, and if it doesn’t, then I worry for  your soul.  I lost my stomach for it a long time ago.  It does some good-I won’t deny it-but it is reasonable for a principled society to ask:  at what cost?

    • #10
  11. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    As someone who has experimented on animals, I can tell you that it kills your soul a little at a time, and if it doesn’t, then I worry for your soul. I lost my stomach for it a long time ago. It does some good-I won’t deny it-but it is reasonable for a principled society to ask: at what cost?

    Well, I talked with people who killed mice in experiments.  They generally kept emotional distance from the task.  I’d imagine hunters and butchers have a similar distance from the animals they kill.

    I see a fair amount of mice in pieces, but I never had to use animals for work.

    • #11
  12. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    As someone who has experimented on animals, I can tell you that it kills your soul a little at a time, and if it doesn’t, then I worry for your soul. I lost my stomach for it a long time ago. It does some good-I won’t deny it-but it is reasonable for a principled society to ask: at what cost?

    Well, I talked with people who killed mice in experiments. They generally kept emotional distance from the task. I’d imagine hunters and butchers have a similar distance from the animals they kill.

    I see a fair amount of mice in pieces, but I never had to use animals for work.

    Not a day goes by where  I don’t look at my beautiful cats and say that had things been different, you could have had your brain transected at the brainstem so someone could see whether  you could still walk without a cerebral cortex.  Or a projectile deliberately aimed at your head to damage your brain. After you recovered or didn’t, you would be killed so your organs could be dissected and studied.  Or  tracers injected into your brain – we’ll let you recover from the surgery, live for a week and then kill you. You could have been lying there alone in a cage, unloved, and suffering.  And a review board would have said that was all OK, because you were under anesthetic when your brain was destroyed and we treated any infections.   You can emotionally distance yourself from all that, but should you?

    These beautiful beings sacrificed at the altar of science.  Not for food so that I can stay alive-that is the way life works-but for something else. For curiosity, for the future well being of mankind, for a career.  I believe that in the future we will look back at ourselves with horror for what we did, much as we look back in horror at atrocities committed against our own species. Yes, good comes of it for people.  But do not minimize the suffering that is inflicted on these animals for our benefit.

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    I’m pulling for the dogs here:

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    As someone who has experimented on animals, I can tell you that it kills your soul a little at a time, and if it doesn’t, then I worry for your soul. I lost my stomach for it a long time ago. It does some good-I won’t deny it-but it is reasonable for a principled society to ask: at what cost?

    Quibble: It killed YOUR soul a little at a time. You have no data on what it does to other peoples souls, and with all due respect it’s a little presumptuous to say that somebody that reacts differently than you did is abnormal. 

    • #14
  15. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    As someone who has experimented on animals, I can tell you that it kills your soul a little at a time, and if it doesn’t, then I worry for your soul. I lost my stomach for it a long time ago. It does some good-I won’t deny it-but it is reasonable for a principled society to ask: at what cost?

    Quibble: It killed YOUR soul a little at a time. You have no data on what it does to other peoples souls, and with all due respect it’s a little presumptuous to say that somebody that reacts differently than you did is abnormal.

    I stand by my comment.

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    You’ve got it all wrong. We should instead 1) Complain that the vaccines weren’t adequately tested, and 2) Complain that tests were done on non-humans before testing the vaccines on humans.  

    • #16
  17. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    As someone who has experimented on animals, I can tell you that it kills your soul a little at a time, and if it doesn’t, then I worry for your soul. I lost my stomach for it a long time ago. It does some good-I won’t deny it-but it is reasonable for a principled society to ask: at what cost?

    Well, I talked with people who killed mice in experiments. They generally kept emotional distance from the task. I’d imagine hunters and butchers have a similar distance from the animals they kill.

    I see a fair amount of mice in pieces, but I never had to use animals for work.

    Not a day goes by where I don’t look at my beautiful cats and say that had things been different, you could have had your brain transected at the brainstem so someone could see whether you could still walk without a cerebral cortex. Or a projectile deliberately aimed at your head to damage your brain. After you recovered or didn’t, you would be killed so your organs could be dissected and studied. Or tracers injected into your brain – we’ll let you recover from the surgery, live for a week and then kill you. You could have been lying there alone in a cage, unloved, and suffering. And a review board would have said that was all OK, because you were under anesthetic when your brain was destroyed and we treated any infections. You can emotionally distance yourself from all that, but should you?

    These beautiful beings sacrificed at the altar of science. Not for food so that I can stay alive-that is the way life works-but for something else. For curiosity, for the future well being of mankind, for a career. I believe that in the future we will look back at ourselves with horror for what we did, much as we look back in horror at atrocities committed against our own species. Yes, good comes of it for people. But do not minimize the suffering that is inflicted on these animals for our benefit.

    Not to mention the permanent damage it likely does to the clinician/experimenter doing the procedures. I would think there would necessarily be some scarring.

    • #17
  18. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    @gossamercat I am glad you don’t have my job, and I’m glad you are well away from research.  Just don’t contribute to any animal rights terror groups to attack my partially-soulless friends and co-workers.

    • #18
  19. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    @ gossamercat I am glad you don’t have my job, and I’m glad you are well away from research. Just don’t contribute to any animal rights terror groups to attack my partially-soulless friends and co-workers.

    I am still in research, just no longer in the wet lab.  I’ve devoted myself to reforming the way science is done and communicated. I accept that animal research has its uses, I just don’t pretend it isn’t brutal.

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I am still in research, just no longer in the wet lab.  I’ve devoted myself to reforming the way science is done and communicated. I accept that animal research has its uses, I just don’t pretend it isn’t brutal.

    It tends to get brutal when animal rights fanatics come and burn your research buildings and ruin entire careers of people by destroying all their research records. 

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I am still in research, just no longer in the wet lab. I’ve devoted myself to reforming the way science is done and communicated. I accept that animal research has its uses, I just don’t pretend it isn’t brutal.

    It tends to get brutal when animal rights fanatics come and burn your research buildings and ruin entire careers of people by destroying all their research records.

    If a couple of them got shot while doing it, it would probably stop.

    • #21
  22. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I am still in research, just no longer in the wet lab. I’ve devoted myself to reforming the way science is done and communicated. I accept that animal research has its uses, I just don’t pretend it isn’t brutal.

    It tends to get brutal when animal rights fanatics come and burn your research buildings and ruin entire careers of people by destroying all their research records.

    If a couple of them got shot while doing it, it would probably stop.

    And fed to pigs.

    • #22
  23. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    The brouhaha about the dogs and the Wuhan lab is just more bashing-Fauci-with-anything-that-comes-to-hand.

    Fauci is being demonized by anti-vaxxers and people who fume and rale over the contingencies forced on us by the pandemic as a symbol of all the bad of the pandemic.  All that he has done as far as I can tell is transmit information and recommendations that come up from the CDC and the NIH regarding what public policies should be.  He’s a typical arrogant government elite, of course, and he knows he knows what’s best for everyone,  and he’s a publicity hog, I won’t defend him on that account.   But so what if he’s a prick?  Most of the “lies” he’s accused of consist of him changing recommendations and predictions as new data comes in.  

    “Fauci said we’d all be able to take our masks off if we got vaccinated.  He lied!”

    No, the recommendation changed because public health officials got new data.

    “Fauci said if we locked down for 4 weeks the virus would go away.  He lied!”  

    No, Fauci and everyone were hoping that the virus would go away.  It didn’t turn out that way.

    As for Wuhan, I avidly read all I can find about what went on there.  I’m a medical researcher myself, but I have no idea whether this was “irresponsible” research or how Fauci figures in.   The Wuhan lab was a shared facility conducting the research of a number of entities including the US.   I don’t see how anyone can say that the generation of COVID-19 there, if that’s what happened, had anything to do with what the US supported.

    By the way, those who wish to see animal research abolished first need to swear off medications for diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, heart failure, multiple sclerosis, etc., etc., because we wouldn’t have any of them if not for that research.  Period.

    Restrictions on animal research are already too great in the US and hinder important work as it is, which is why a lot of it is done in other countries now.

     

     

    • #23
  24. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Roderic (View Comment):
    All that he has done as far as I can tell is transmit information and recommendations that come up from the CDC and the NIH regarding what public policies should be.

    Your continued faith in authority is touching.

    Fauci initially restated the exact state of the art regarding the efficacy of mask mandates—not likely to make much difference for obvious mechanical reasons. He changed when masks were seized upon as a way to Do Something About It. There was no sudden influx of new data. Nor was there an influx of new studies when he offered the silly idea of two masks (more an acknowledgment that his original position was probably right). Fauci likes to grab the baton regardless which which way the parade is headed—or what the data says.

    We can’t say that his no longer operant prediction regarding mask-wearing after vaccination was due to review of data since Fauci et al have been really slow to acknowledge that significant spread can and does still occur regardless of vaccination. 

    On July 7 last year, he told the Senate that the decline in cases in NYC was due to Cuomo and DeBlasio following CDC guidance when every northeastern state, Western Europe and even Sweden had an absolutely identical downslope regardless of NPI policy or timing of such interventions.  He is either innumerate, incompetent or disingenuous. There are no other choices on that menu.

    If masks and vaccines and closures did not work anywhere to stop the spread, can we please now admit the preferred model of transmission (sick people coughing on others) is grossly incomplete and that we don’t know sh*t about the nature of COVID spread?  We keep doing things that don’t work precisely because of this state of denial.

    And having to pretend that those making policy are doing so after carefully looking at the data and the science is intolerably silly.

    The fact that there was never a rebellion within the health policy world to dump Fauci and that buffoon Wallensky is a much bigger problem than Fauci’s particular character defects.

     

     

     

     

    • #24
  25. Autistic License Thatcher
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    I had a friend who wanted me to join a movement confining research to statistical models. But, statistical models do not surprise the researcher. They are like computer programs and the results are more or less foreordained.  I couldn’t go along, despite my love for beagles.  It saddens me, but I don’t have a plausible alternative. 

    • #25
  26. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Dr. Fauci is a liar and dissembler about the Wuhan funding, but he looks almost honest when compared to some of the people putting out anti-vax scare stories on the internet.  

    • #26
  27. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Dr. Fauci is a liar and dissembler about the Wuhan funding, but he looks almost honest when compared to some of the people putting out anti-vax scare stories on the internet.

    A pox on both their houses. Preferably an eastern pox. 

    • #27
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