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  1. Good Science Digest

  2. Oct 25, 2021

NIH: Fund Science, Not Beagle Suffering

sad beagle
Photo: Getty Images

Statement from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

According to a recent complaint, part of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant was sent to a Tunisian lab to test a vaccine on beagle dogs. The experiments involve exposing the dogs to hungry sand flies which bite them over and over.

In response, the Physicians Committee has requested that the NIH (1) conduct an internal review to assess how these experiments were approved and funded, (2) make that review public, and (3) make fundamental changes to its granting policies and practices, prioritizing ethical human-based models, so that experiments like these do not receive funding in the future.

House of Representative members are pressing Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for answers in a letter authored by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).

Experiments on dogs and other animals remain business as usual for NIH-funded research, which kills tens of millions of animals every year. These experiments are deservedly criticized for their lack of scientific value. The current scandal highlights the suffering involved. 

The Physicians Committee has long held that infectious diseases and medications must be studied in human-relevant models, such as human cells and tissues, organoids and tissue chips, donated human tissue samples, genomic methods, and in silico, or computer model, methods, as well as in carefully conducted clinical trials in human patients, as appropriate.

“No way, no how, just no,” said John Pippin, MD, FACC. “This must be the worst possible way for humanity to relate to man’s best friend.”

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