A Washington Post health reporter told members of a group that spotlighted Dr. Anthony Fauci’s funding of experiments on beagles that they should be concerned about undermining the White House coronavirus adviser’s anti-COVID efforts and causing a backlog of phone calls to the National Institutes of Health.
Independent investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald reported the conversation was part of the Post’s preparations for a “hit piece” on the White Coat Waste Project after the group exposed what he described as “gruesome, medically worthless experimentation on adult dogs and puppies.”
The Post, in fact, has reported favorably on previous exposés by the White Coat Waste Project. Greenwald noted the previous Post reports, continuing through the Trump years, always emphasized the group’s “purely non-partisan agenda and their ability to bring together left and right.”
“Now everything has changed,” Greenwald said. “The government official who oversees the agencies conducting most of these gruesome experiments has become a liberal icon and one of the most sacred and protected figures in modern American political history.”
On Monday, Greenwald reported, White Coat Waste Project Vice President Justin Goodman was on a phone call with Post reporters Beth Reinhard and Yasmeen Abutaleb, who is assigned to the health and COVID beat.
Abutaleb, in particular, “repeatedly demanded to know whether White Coat was concerned that the activism they were doing on these dog experimentation programs could end up harming Dr. Fauci’s reputation and thus make him less able to manage the COVID crisis,” Greenwald said.
“They even suggested that by encouraging people to call the NIH telephone lines to protest this experimentation, they might be making it difficult for people with questions about COVID to get through.”
Greenwald said the Post “has decided to amass a team of reporters to attack the group — the same one the paper repeatedly praised prior to the COVID pandemic — in order to falsely smear it as a right-wing extremist group motivated not by a genuine concern for the welfare of animals or wasteful government spending, but rather due to a partisan desire, based in MAGA ideology, to attack Fauci.”
A bipartisan coalition in Congress now is demanding more information about the experiments. Twenty-four House members — nine Democrats and 15 Republicans, wrote a letter Oct. 24 to Fauci expressing “grave concerns about reports of costly, cruel, and unnecessary taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs commissioned by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also is confronting the NIH.
Greenwald noted that in 2018, he reported on the dog experiments under the headline “BRED TO SUFFER: Inside the Barbaric U.S. Industry of Dog Experimentation.” His article described “a largely hidden, poorly regulated, and highly profitable industry in the United States that has a gruesome function: breeding dogs for the sole purpose of often torturous experimentation, after which the dogs are killed because they are no longer of use.”
The White Coat Waste Project said documents it obtained showed Fauci’s NIAID directed $424,455 to the University of Georgia in September 2020 to infect 28 beagles with disease-causing parasites.
The Daily Caller reported it obtained documents showing the animals were to be allowed to develop infections for three months and that then they would be euthanized for blood collection.
The White Coat Waste Project told Newsweek the experiments were related to treatment for a tropical disease called lymphatic filariasis. The group argued the tests already had been conducted on other animals.
Responding to the claims, University of Georgia spokesman Greg Trevor argued the research was for a potential vaccine, developed at another institution, that would protect against a disease affecting 120 million people.
Under federal rules, he said in a statement emailed to Newsweek, a vaccine must be tested in two animal species before it can be cleared for human clinical trials.
The Georgia statement said that when NIAID decided to fund the research, the agency determined it needed to be conducted on a dog model, and beagles are the standard dog model.
“Because this disease currently has no cure, unfortunately the animals that are part of this trial must be euthanized. We do not take lightly the decision to use such animals in some of our research,” the statement said.
Georgia’s Trevor said the university followed the humane standards of the Animal Welfare Act, the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animal and the National Research Council Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and other guidelines.
“Nearly every advancement in medicine, medical devices and surgical procedures has depended on research involving animal subjects,” the statement said.
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