A watchdog group dedicated to uncovering federally sponsored animal research it says is unnecessary and harmful has found another reason to advocate for a bill championed by Florida Rep. Greg Steube.
The Sarasota Republican has filed the Protecting Dogs Subjected to Experiments Act, which would permanently defund all experiments conducted on dogs by the National Institutes of Health.
This time, the White Coat Waste Project, or WCW, filed a formal complaint on Wednesday with the NIH, asserting that the University of Iowa violated federal law by not reporting the funding breakdown for its research on foxhounds.
In this case, the group said on its website, “the NIH and the University of Iowa rounded up over a dozen dogs, drugged them, strapped containers full of hungry sand flies to their skin, and locked the dogs in cages so the flies could bite them. The heartless white coats then killed and dissected the dogs.”
According to documents compiled by the group, Iowa researchers were studying an infectious illness called visceral leishmaniasis.
The World Health Organization says an estimated 50 000 to 90 000 new disease cases occur each year around the globe, primarily in poorer areas of Brazil, east Africa, and India. The disease causes fever, weight loss, skin lesions, and other symptoms, and is fatal 95% of the time if left untreated. The WHO also notes, “It has outbreak and mortality potential.”
According to research documents, Iowa noted that “identifying which dogs transmit parasites well to sand flies is important to curb disease spread.” Researchers were looking at how dogs get infected while still in the womb.
According to WCW, the NIH provided Iowa $10 million in federal grants for this research since 1986, with $2.4 million of that spent since 2016.
Yet the university has violated federal law by not spelling out publicly how that money was spent, the WCW says.
That, however, is a “symptom of a broader problem,” its complaint says, because many universities fail to follow the law.
“Recipients of NIH funding like the University of Iowa have been legally required to clearly disclose the cost of their projects so taxpayers are aware of how their hard-earned money is being spent,” the group added. “Yet, evidence shows ongoing, widespread violations of this commonsense spending transparency law.”
“The NIH has acknowledged this problem but abjectly failed to address it. We urge you to investigate the University of Iowa’s ongoing violations of federal law documented in this letter and debar its dog experimenters for their repeated failure to properly disclose taxpayer funding.”
The WCW notes this is also another reason why Steube’s bill must become law.
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