with guest Justin Goodman
About this Episode
The U.S. government is the driving force behind most of the dog testing taking place in America today. It is a little-known fact that the taxes we pay as citizens every year are actually funding the largest animal testing organization in the world: the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Justin Goodman, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at White Coat Waste Project, rocks this episode and sheds light on what’s happening in Congress right now to stop taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs.
Guest: Justin Goodman
Justin Goodman is the Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at White Coat Waste Project (WCW). For more than 15 years, Justin has led high-profile, winning grassroots and lobbying campaigns to expose and end wasteful and cruel taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs, cats, primates and other animals. In 2017, Justin was awarded the 40 Under 40 award by the American Association of Political Consultants.
Justin has also led successful efforts to pass local, state and federal laws and policies that reduce and replace wasteful animal experiments. Justin’s advocacy work is regularly featured in major media outlets, including Fox News, the New York Times, Politico, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Daily Caller, Washington Times and niche publications including Science and Nature.
He has co-authored extensive peer-reviewed research on ethical, scientific and regulatory issues related to animal testing. Justin earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut and spent years as an adjunct professor of sociology at Marymount University where he taught international study abroad programs about illegal wildlife trafficking.
Ellie Hansen, host:
Before we get into all the important work of White Coat Waist Project, I believe the world wants to know a bit about you and what steps in your life led you to work at White Coat Waste. When you and I first spoke a few years ago you told me briefly about a primate laboratory you helped to shut down at the University of Connecticut when you were a graduate student there. So I’m just curious how you did that exactly, and would you say that this early experience helped guide your future career?
Yeah absolutely it was pivotal. I went vegan first in the 1990’s. I got exposed to animal rights issues through being involved in punk and hardcore music. And at the time, social justice issues generally, but certainly animal rights, was an issue at the forefront of the music scene. There were bands that were singing songs about animal issues. And you’d go to see bands that you like musically and you’d get to the show and there’d be tables set up by grass roots organizations with information about animal testing issues and videos on loops. This is back when there was you know VHS tapes and little TVs with the VCRs and people would schlep them around and set them up. And so I got exposed to that information and like a lot of people I always had natural affinity for animals. I have memories of going to petting zoo as a kid and just crying hysterically when we had to leave because there was this little deer that I was just hugging all day.
So I always loved animals and when I was a teenager I met other people who were like…oh I love animals too and here’s the things I do in my life to try to minimize the negative impact I have on them. I thought all that makes sense so I met vegans and vegetarian people and animal rights activists and thought well that makes sense for me and went vegan, but was never an advocate or an activist beyond that. It was something that I did personally. I didn’t really talk about it much.
And then I met my wife who also happened to be you know into animal issues and vegan. We were living in New York and moved to San Diego and I started college. And I was in a speech communications class and we had to give a speech on how to make something, and I gave a speech on how to make a hamburger but from the very beginning–like talking all about factory farming. It was the first time I talked about animal issues ever publicly and this guy who sat next to me all semester leaned over to me next class and was like “Hey, I went vegetarian after your presentation the other day.” For me that was a very powerful experience. I had never spoken about these issues before and here the first time I do it connects with somebody and they’re like I’m changing my life because of you. And I thought that’s never something I saw myself doing but I kind of squirreled it away in the back of my head.
Then I finished undergrad, got to grad school at the University of Connecticut and learned about this monkey lab on campus. And I thought here’s my opportunity to speak out. It seems like no one really knows that this was going on. This was 2004. I couldn’t believe in the 21st century this type of thing was even happening any more. So I started to learn how to use the Freedom of Information Act, government-spending data bases related to animal experimentation, searching published papers to see what was being done in this laboratory, or what the results were, who is funding the projects, and basically built this grass roots campaign at the University of Connecticut with the help of my wife and other great activists who were in the community at the time. And we exposed and shut down this primate lab in about two years.
We exposed that there had been abuses of monkeys. They were doing invasive brain experiments on monkeys at the University of Connecticut. So what they were doing was drilling holes in their skulls, implanting restraint devices into their heads so they could strap them in experimental chairs, injecting their brains with acid to destroy the part of their brain that controlled their eye movements. And then they would strap them in these chairs and have them watch a screen to see whether they can control their eyes and follow a target on the screen. At the end of the experiments the monkeys were killed and dissected. During the course of these experiments, because they were so invasive, monkeys were developing infections.
They obviously didn’t want to cooperate because the experiments were incredibly traumatic. They would put collars around their necks to drag them out of the cages. So they would connect basically—it’s a stick and pole—and they attached the pole to the monkey’s collar and dragged them out of the cage to put them in the restraint chair. And one of the monkeys fought so hard against being pulled into the restraint chair that his eyes bled.
But this was all in the records of the university. Federal inspectors, the university oversight committee…no one had noted most of this stuff. We were a bunch of students and we discovered this stuff in the records that we were getting through the Freedom of Information Act. So we provided this information to federal inspectors, filed complaints with federal agencies, and after about two years of doing these exposes, horrible media coverage for the university, constant protests, speaking at board of trustees meetings, all of that type of stuff…the lab shut down and it never started again. And that was the last time there were primates in the labs at the University of Connecticut, which I think was 2006-07, so it’s been a long time.
I was in grad school at the time and that got me thinking maybe I don’t want to spend my life in academia. Maybe my calling is activism. So I left graduate school. I was in a PhD program. I left with my master’s degree and I went to work at PETA. I was there for about a decade working on animal testing campaigns, but during my time there…and you know I’m proud of a lot of the work I did there…I really started to see that the problem—the root cause—of most of the problems that we were encountering was the federal government. Whether it was funding the experiments on animals that we were exposing and fighting, or whether it was mandating them in the case of drug companies who are forced to do testing on dogs and other animals as a result of outdated federal rules.
So the government seemed to be the root problem when it came to most of the animal testing I was encountering, and to address that problem, I really thought we needed to be doing a lot of work on Capitol Hill and educating lawmakers about this issue and rallying them to take action. It was an issue that had attracted great support from members of Congress for decades. The Animal Welfare Act, which is the main federal law in this country that governs the treatment of animals in labs and other places, that came about as a result of the 1960s controversy about the treatment of dogs in experiments or dogs who are destined for experiments. Obviously there’s been other controversies since then, but really this country has been concerned with the issue for a long time and there have been moments where law makers were concerned and willing to do something about it and it seemed like we were uncovering all this waste and abuse in government-funded labs, and there was really a disconnect between what we were finding and what Congress was doing…they weren’t doing a whole lot.
So I started doing some policy work at PETA but it wasn’t really a core component of what they were doing. And then I met Anthony Bellotti who was coming out of politics and in the process of starting a new organization, White Coat Waste Project, to specifically fight taxpayer funding of animal testing. And I thought, this guy’s got a fire in his belly, he’s got a brilliant idea, and it’s something I wanted to be a part of. And it just happened to be that as he was starting up White Coat, I was thinking about how I could be doing more policy work. And that’s exactly what he was looking for was someone to build the campaigns and lobbying shop at White Coat Waste Project and really help get it off the ground.
So we’re going to dive deep into politics here. In October of 2021, six Republican senators led by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky demanded answers from Dr. Anthony Fauci who is currently (but not for much longer) the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases over some inhumane experiments Fauci’s agency reportedly conducted on beagle puppies—which became known all over social media as BeagleGate. White Coat Waste Project’s BeagleGate investigations revealed some pretty awful tax payer funded experiments like injecting beagle puppies with cocaine (and we’ll get into that a little bit later)…debarking dogs…poisoning dogs… infesting beagles with insects. White Coat Waste essentially represents Americans across both political parties on the issue of using dogs for government funded experiments. Could you talk a bit more about BeagleGate and what are Americans thinking about all of this?
So our work to expose and end taxpayer funded dog experiments actually began back in 2016 when I first started at White Coat and we released a report called Spending to Death which specifically focused on the use of dogs and experiments inside the government’s own labs. So not at the colleges and universities that are receiving NIH funding for example and doing experiments, but what these agencies like the NIH and the FDA and the Department of Veterans Affairs for examples were doing in their own laboratories. And we found that the NIH and the Department of Veterans Affairs were the chief abusers of dogs in terms of the number of dogs they were using.
At the time back in 2016 the Department of Veterans Affairs was actual conducting what we call maximum pain experiments on dogs. So these are painful experiments in which pain relief is intentionally withheld. We released this report and at the time we decided we’re going to focus on dog testing at the Department of Veterans Affairs because they were doing the most painful tests. So we launched this big campaign and had great success in Congress over the last six years passing legislation, enacting legislation, bipartisan, with a broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats passing legislation to restrict the use of dogs and experiments at the V.A. to the point where we’ve now over the past six years gotten it reduced by over 90%. And the V.A. is fully invested now in ending use of dogs and cats and primates actually as a result of our campaign in experiments which is great.
As we made this progress that we’re very proud of at the V.A. we thought now it’s time to turn our attention to other agencies that have not made as much progress and try to replicate the success we had and kind of template this. We started to look at the NIH because they are the single largest funder of animal testing in the entire world, never mind the United States and spend about $20 billion dollars a year on animal testing. And we had all this evidence of dog experiments that they were funding. And it turns out that a lot of the experiments we were encountering were funded by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s division at the NIH, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Prior to October, in August of 2021, we first exposed some of the testing that Anthony Fauci’s division was funding and those experiments were at the University of Georgia. Through the Freedom of Information Act we learned that they were infesting dogs with flies and injecting them with experimental vaccines and killing them. The records we obtained showed that the dogs were vocalizing in pain. They had named these dogs after Snoop Dogg and other celebrities and then killed them all.
That garnered a significant amount of attention, but it wasn’t until October when we released the information about the experiments in Tunisia where dogs were being drugged and infested with flies and locked in cages with them that the campaign really took off. BeagleGate was born.
I was standing in a Lowes home center with my wife actually and I got an alert on my phone that Joe Rogan had tweeted out an article about the Fauci dog testing and I was like…oh man, this thing is about to explode. And it did. We were completely buried in media requests for like a week. We couldn’t keep up with them. Our phone lines were blowing up and apparently the phone lines at the NIH were blowing up. We later learned that their line phone lines were completely shut down because of the thousands of phone calls they were getting from angry members of the public about the dog testing that we had exposed.
The Washington Post went on to name this one of the chief scandals of Anthony Fauci’s tenure. Despite what a lot of some of the headlines said, this was always a bipartisan effort. This was never political. White Coat Waste Project is a completely nonpartisan organization. And Democrats were actually criticizing Anthony Fauci over his dog testing as well. They were signing these bipartisan letters, asking him questions, saying that this was unnecessary and cruel, and even signing on to legislation to completely cut funding for the dog testing that Anthony Fauci was funding.
For us this was pivotal for a lot of reasons. For White Coat it was certainly a high-water mark in terms of visibility for our campaigns and our organization internationally. But also it put the issue of dog testing on the international radar in a way that I think is unprecedented. And it is because of Anthony Fauci’s involvement in those experiments. And you know we were kind of at the right place at the right time, and because of his visibility it was able to elevate the issue beyond people who maybe just care about animal testing, which is a significant proportion of the public. You know we get a lot of great media coverage and we have millions of folks who are signing our petitions and taking action. But when you threw Anthony Fauci in the mix, given how loved and hated he was at the time, or still is, depending on who you talk to, it really elevated things to the next level.
One of the experiments that White Coat Waste uncovered was a disturbing cocaine experiment on beagle puppies, and obviously this information was being kept under lock and key because it was so horrible. Can you describe how White Coat Waste Project uncovered this information and exactly what you found?
Sure, so we use a system that we call FED for short, because we work on federal policy. The acronym is FED—Find, Expose, and De-fund. We are constantly scouring government data bases you know, looking for evidence of taxpayer-funded animal experiments, whether it be dogs or otherwise, whether it’s grants, contracts to purchase dogs, and other evidence of the government’s involvement in animal testing. So we find these things, we expose them through the media, and then we work with Congress for the D-part, which is De-fund, to pass legislation and enact legislation to restrict and ultimately de-fund the use of dogs and other animals in experiments.
We obtained copies of a contract that the National Institute of Drug Abuse had awarded to a private company to test a new drug—an anti-drug abuse compound—and to do that they were purchasing beagle puppies and injecting them with cocaine and then injecting them with this experimental drug to see if the drug would block the addictive effects of cocaine on the dogs. And the tests in dogs are mainly for safety, they’re not really for effectiveness, so they were really looking at whether this this drug, this anti-drug abuse compound, was toxic or not to the dogs.
You know the aggravating part for a lot of us is not only the fact that this is obviously cruel, it’s completely unnecessary. And that’s not just our opinion. The Food and Drug Administration has stated clearly in writing—publicly—that they do not require the use dogs to test human drugs, yet we have found time and again that the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies continue to contract for, commission, and fund dog testing to test experimental drugs for humans.
And this past summer we actually exposed a series of five new dog tests that Anthony Fauci’s divisions specifically had commissioned to test a new seasonal allergy drug that had been developed. They were going to do five different tests on puppies to assess this new runny nose drug and the documents we got through the Freedom of Information Act actually showed that after the NIH had commissioned the dog testing, the company they were paying came back and said, “You know actually we don’t really need to use dogs for this.” They proposed another animal model using rodents, but they admitted that the dog testing that the government was requesting was completely unnecessary consistent with what the FDA has been saying and consistent with what a lot of other scientists were saying.
So we worked with Senator Joni Ernst, Republican from Iowa, and she wrote a letter to Anthony Fauci basically saying, “We’ve seen these documents that were uncovered by White Coat Waste and it appears that the dog test thing that you want to do and spend $1.8 million on is actually unnecessary and your own contractor told you this. So what are you going to do?” And to his credit he wrote back and said, “We’re not going to move forward with the plans for the dog testing. We’ve canceled it.”
So when I look at this problem of taxpayer-funded dog testing, whether it’s by NIH or other agencies, for me it usually comes down to a staggering lack of accountability and transparency about how money is being spent. An agency like the NIH has a $20 billion dollar budget. Anthony Fauci’s division at the NIH has a $6 billion dollar budget by itself and the NIH estimates that half of all this money is being spent on animal testing. In practical terms, because they’re spending about $20 billion dollars on animal testing every year, it’s really hard to keep track of what they’re doing unless you’re paying very close attention, and we’re some of the only people in this world who are paying close enough attention to pick up on these projects and catch them before they’ve started.
But when you look closely you see these federal agencies don’t give two figs about whether the testing they’re doing is unnecessary or wasteful or cruel. It’s just you know reflexive to them… it’s… okay here’s a new drug, how are we going to see if it’s safe…uh, let’s you know, pump it into a bunch of beagle puppies and see what happens. Never mind the fact that the NIH admits on its website that 9 out of 10 drugs that pass these dog tests fail in humans because they don’t work or are dangerous. Never mind the abuse that the dogs go through. Never mind the availability of other methods for testing. And never mind the fact that we know a majority of the public doesn’t want their money spent like this. The government is doing it any way, which is why we have to work with Congress to cut the funding so the government can’t spend it in this way because if left to their own devices, we’ve seen that they make the wrong choice time and again.
Yeah, and as a taxpayer I feel like there is so much information hidden from me, especially when it comes to things the government doesn’t want us to know…like some of those beagle tests we were just talking about. And it takes a team of people like White Coat Waste to really dig in and expose these things. One of these hidden facts is called the Foreign Animal Lab Loophole. Could you describe what this is and why it’s on the White Coat Waste Project’s radar?
Absolutely. So while many of your listeners might be familiar with the fact that the U.S. government funds animal testing here in the United States, we’ve uncovered over the last few years that actually the NIH is spending a significant amount of money every year funding animal testing overseas.
And one example is obviously these dog experiments in Tunisia that were being funded by Fauci’s division that we exposed. We also exposed that the NIH was funding these dangerous Corona virus experiments at a lab in Wuhan that the FBI and many others believe caused pandemic. And we’ve exposed other wasteful and cruel experiments in foreign labs that were being funded by the U.S. government.
Most recently we found that a Kremlin-run (this is totally real and true and I know it sounds crazy) but there is a Kremlin-run animal laboratory that has been receiving taxpayer dollars as recently as this past November for experiments on cats where they’re basically crippling cats by severing their spinal cords and forcing them to walk on tread mills before killing and dissecting them. And the
NIH sent $550,000 to this lab last year specifically for these cat experiments. And a few years before that, sent them another $200,000 for the same cat lab.
So you have animal laboratories in countries that our government considers to be foreign enemies, China and Russia in this case, that are actively receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars for animal experiments that are both dangerous and cruel. We’ve worked with Congress to introduce legislation to cut funding for animal laboratories in countries that are deemed foreign adversaries like China and Russia. We actually got the House funding panel that gives money to the NIH to vote this tax year to cut funding for labs in Russia and China. We’ll see if that gets to the President’s desk, but we’ve made progress getting bipartisan support for that effort.
Actually the NIH authorizes over 350 laboratories in foreign countries to receive tax payer dollars. What’s especially disturbing is this issue that you call the Foreign Animal Lab Loophole which is that animal laboratories in foreign countries do not have to maintain the same levels of oversight that U.S. laboratories do. So in the United States—and these systems are far from perfect, they’re very broken, but at least there’s some line of defense in terms of having somewhat independent experts reviewing and approving and providing oversight to animal experimentation—there are bodies that are required at every laboratory that receive taxpayer dollars to review experimental applications, approve experimental applications, and make sure they’re adhered to and the law’s being followed.
The NIH illegally exempts every single foreign lab in every foreign country from having any type of oversite like this, even though the federal law that was written in 1985 says any animal laboratory getting money from the NIH has to have this type of oversight. So our lawsuit that we filed against the NIH says that you’re illegally exempting foreign laboratories from key oversight that prevents animal abuse, that prevents wasteful spending, that prevents bio-safety incidents. It’s basically a free-for-all in these foreign countries in these labs where money is going to them from U.S. tax payers and they’re not required to adhere to the same rules that domestic labs are required to adhere to. And this opens up the door for all kinds of waste and abuse especially in countries that don’t have our best interests in mind like Russia and China.
One of my favorite projects that you’re working on is a federal bill called the AFTER Act which stands for Animal Freedom from Testing Experiments and Research. And there’s another name for the bill too… Violet’s Law. Violet is a coonhound who was used in experimental research until she was rescued. Sweet, gentle Violet…photos of her just make me melt… was forced to participate in two different government funded experiments and when she completed the second experiment she was given up for adoption. Is it promising that Violet’s Law will become law? And are you seeing any tides of change at the government level when it comes to using dogs for research?
Yeah absolutely. There’s reasons to be optimistic about all of that. To start with Violet’s Law, back in 2017 there were states that were passing these lab animal retirement laws, yet there was no federal policy addressing this issue. So even though most of these laboratories that were using dogs in experiments are federally funded or doing federally-mandated animal testing, there was no federal policy or law governing what would happen to animals when experiments were done. The Animal Welfare Active is silent on that issue. All federal policy essentially wasn’t addressing it.
So we started working with members of Congress to determine what agency policies were and we found that not a single federal agency had a policy that would allow animals to be retired when experiments ended, even when they were healthy. We started pressuring individual agencies as well as introducing this legislation called the AFTER Act, aka Violet’s Law, to require every federal lab to have a policy in place allowing animals to be retired at the end of experiments. Through this campaign we have now attracted in this Congress over 100 bipartisan co-sponsors for Violet’s Law which would require lab animal retirement policies at all federal agencies.
But we’ve also been successful in targeting agencies one by one and getting them to enact policies on their own, and to date, we’ve gotten the Department of Veterans Affairs, which was the first one in history to develop a lab animal retirement policy, and as a result dogs and cats have been retired out of V.A. labs since the policy we got in place was enacted. The V.A.’s policy actually says they have an “ethical obligation” to do it which was huge…getting an agency that was just wholesale killing these animals before to acknowledge that this is an important thing they should be doing, and they’re actually doing it now.
We got a policy at the National Institutes of Health to do the same thing and we got the FDA—the Food and Drug Administration—to also enact a policy allowing animals to be retired at the end of experiments.
We’re now working to pass Violet’s Law which would standardize this across the federal government and make sure every federal laboratory including other agencies like the CDC and the EPA have policies in place as well. There’s been remarkable progress not only on the retirement front but as I mentioned you know a little earlier in reducing the use of dogs in government experiments. For example, when we first started campaigning against the V.A., I think they were using over 200 dogs a year in experiments. We’re close to getting that number down to zero and that’s as a result of increasing restrictions and oversight of dog experiments at the V.A. to the point where it’s very difficult to get a new dog experiment approved.
Since 2018 every year in the V.A.’s funding bill it says you cannot spend any money on experiments on dogs or cats or primates unless certain conditions are met and as a result of that and other legislation by Congress and grass roots pressure, the V.A. has wound down essentially all of its testing on dogs. We’re working right now to confirm the status of the last few projects, but they’re on their way out.
This is a situation where we took the worst of the agencies and were able to transform them into one that has now created a road map that I think other agencies can be following in terms of a plan to reduce and replace the use of dogs in experiments and cats and primates as well.
So it seems that change is happening then, which gives me reason to hope, and a very new bill that has been introduced…and one that I am actually really excited about… is called the Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act. It has been introduced by U.S. Representative Greg Steube—he is a Republican representing the state of Florida. This legislation would prohibit taxpayer funding of any biological, medical or behavioral research at the National Institutes of Health that involves the use of a dog. White Coat Waste Project has lent its support to this bill of course. Can you describe this bill and what it would mean for dogs in laboratories?
So following the success we’ve had at the Department of Veterans Affairs like I said we launched the BeagleGate campaign to target experimentation on dogs being funded by the NIH because the NIH is the single largest funder of dog experiments in the world. And there’s been a lot of pressure on the agency from Democrats, from Republicans, and from the public to get rid of this.
And there’s actually two bills that have been introduced. There’s Greg Steube’s bill which is outstanding—their Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act. That bill would completely cut NIH funding for any dog experiments—full stop.
There’s also legislation that’s been introduced by Congresswoman Nancy Mace, another Republican. She’s from South Carolina. That would prohibit painful testing on dogs by Anthony Fauci’s division of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. Her bill is supported by Republicans and Democrats.
And as I mentioned earlier, this campaign has always been bipartisan which is great. So yes, there’s a lot of legislative action afoot that would reduce the use of dogs in taxpayer-funded experiments which is something that is at the top of people’s minds right now. Obviously it’s been at the top of our minds for a long time, but given what happened with Envigo and the 4,000 beagles, it’s really opened up a lot of people’s eyes to the fact that dog testing is still a problem here in the United States that needs to be dealt with.
It is a real problem. Recent data shows there are still almost 60,000 dogs being used for research in this country alone. The fact is, many private corporations (like pharmaceutical companies for example) conduct dog experiments as well, so will these government-spending bills we just talked about protect dogs at all in the private sector?
That’s correct. You’re exactly right. So this bill would prohibit the NIH from spending money on dog experiments at its in-house laboratories out in Maryland, as well as any organization that receives NIH funding for experiments on dogs like colleges, universities, private foundations, and private companies that are getting NIH funding.
The dog testing problem in the United States has two main sources. It’s the experiments that the NIH is funding. So, grants…colleges and universities are applying for grants for doing experiments on dogs. Or the NIH is conducting its own experiments on dogs. That’s one category on dog experimentation in the United States.
The other side of that is government-mandated experimentation on dogs—and that’s where we’re thinking about chemical companies and drug companies and medical device manufactures—they’re conducting experimentation on dogs because the FDA is telling them to, or strongly encouraging them to, if not outright requiring them to. And in the private sector you know drug companies, device companies, they’re in the business of making money. They want the fastest, quickest, cheapest way to get a product to market.
Animal testing is a very inefficient way of doing that. It’s very ineffective, it’s misleading, it’s very slow and it’s very expensive. So companies for a long time they’ve been kind of at the forefront of this move away from animal testing for drugs—including on dogs— because it’s just bad for business.
Private companies have been at the forefront of developing new technologies like organs-on-a-chip and pushing the government to get rid of its mandates. Unfortunately the government, because it’s a giant bureaucracy, is slow to change so it’s behind the curve. It has not kept up with technological advancements. The government is still requiring animal testing when it’s completely unnecessary and actually counter-productive to the goals of organization like the FDA which is to get cures to people faster.
So there is a push that we’ve been involved in. We have a campaign called Cut FDA Red Tape that would eliminate dog testing mandates by the FDA so that companies can choose to use methods other than dog testing to provide the government with evidence that their drugs are safe and effective. And the FDA says out of one side of its mouth that you’re allowed to do this, yet at
the other side of its mouth—when push comes to shove—they’re still requiring companies to test on dogs.
There’s company we work with called Vanda Pharmaceuticals that actually sued the FDA over this because they had a drug that was safe and effective, already had been in human trials, and was very promising and the FDA said if you want to continue these human trials you’ve got to conduct a nine-month study on puppies and force feed massive doses of this drug before you can put it into any other people. Vanda said, “Why would we do that? We already have data from humans showing this is safe and effective.” And the FDA was insistent that they do dog testing and as a result this drug got basically put on ice and couldn’t move forward on human trials because of the FDA’s insistence that dog testing happen. And Vanda’s principal stand was that they’re not going to kill a bunch of dogs unnecessarily at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars just to you know satisfy some FDA red tape. And there’s a lot of other companies that are in the same boat.
There’s evidence that for years companies have been pushing back on the FDA’s animal testing mandate and unfortunately have been ultimately either forced to put things on hold or forced to do animal tests that they didn’t want to do because government bureaucrats have forced them to do so.
Our estimate is that about a third of all the dogs being used in this country in experiments are being used in experiments that are required by federal agencies, mainly the FDA, in addition to the dogs who are being used in experiments being funded by the government. But either way however you cut it, the U.S. government is a driving force behind most of the dog testing taking place in the United States right now.