- Pointless tests persist
Ridiculous animal experiments still permitted
Americans Should Know Where Their Taxes Go, Animal Research Watchdog Group Says
Today, as Americans file their 2011 tax returns, In Defense of Animals (IDA) is unveiling its Top 10 List of Most Ridiculous Research on Animals for 2011 and relaunching its Real Ridiculous Research (RRR) campaign in recognition of ridiculous, wasteful experiments funded by your tax dollars.
“With unemployment sky-high and our economy still suffering from the Great Recession, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) still spends billions of your tax dollars every year to fund animal experiments,” said IDA Research Director Eric Kleiman. “Our own research indicates that this is little more than ‘white-coated welfare’ for experimenters living off of a grant gravy train funded by hard-hit American taxpayers.”
IDA’s “Top 10” list is comprised of NIH-funded experiments that were selected from scientific papers published in 2011, approved by federally-mandated oversight committees, and published in peer-reviewed journals.
Below is a sampling of experiments that made IDA’s Top 10 List.
• Labs are Stressful Places for Monkeys (Tulane Primate Center and Wisconsin Primate Center);
• Rats Find Miles Davis is Better with Cocaine (Albany Medical College);
• Lemon-fresh Scent Can Induce Erections in Monkeys (Wisconsin Primate Center, Northeastern Univ.);
• Alligators’ Sounds and Anatomy Differ from Humans (Univ. of Utah);
• Contagious Yawning in Chimpanzees is Empathetic (Emory University / Yerkes Primate Center).
According to Kleiman, these types of experiments get funded because of the NIH’s fundamentally broken system of funding, which has:
• Resulted in a glut of researchers and scientific misbehaviors as fierce competition for funds increases;
• In a March 2012 expose published in Nature, called into question the reliability of highly-prestigious, highly-cited preclinical research;
• Been blasted by past NIH Directors, thousands of NIH-funded researchers and eminent scientists as preventing innovative, risk-taking research;
• Spawned predoctoral grants in which taxpayers help fund “underrepresented”researchers’ obtaining Ph.D.’s by experimenting on animals, thus breeding the next generation of animal experimenters;
• Funded the National Primate Research Center System to the tune of $1.5 billion over the past 20 years simply to keep the Centers open (half of IDA’s Top 10 List contains experiments conducted or supported by these Primate Centers).
Kleiman said that these systemic problems – of which stupid and wasteful animal experimentation is a clear symptom – have prompted IDA to ask the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to re-launch and expand its 2003 investigation of NIH’s management and oversight of billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants.
“In today’s exigent economic climate, the need for Congress to re-open and widen this investigation is more urgent than ever,” concluded Kleiman. “For Tax Day 2011, we hope this is a wake-up call about how NIH wastes your tax dollars. IDA’s RRR campaign plans to regularly reveal the sad reality of animal experimentation and the fundamentally broken, taxpayer-supported NIH system that continues to fund this‘white-coated welfare.’”
IDA’s complete Top 10 list and more details regarding NIH’s systemic problems are available at http://idausa.org/rrr
In Defense of Animals, San Rafael, CA 94901