Is PETA right asking Dr. Fauci to resign over alleged puppy experiments?

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Fact Box

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci is the leading immunologist for the White House, and has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. 
  • On October 25, 2021, PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo called for Dr. Fauci’s resignation on Newsmax TV “American Agenda” in light of alleged puppy experiments claiming “cruel experiments on dogs funded by tax-payer dollars.”
  • The White Coat Waste Project announced “#BeagleGate” asking Dr. Fauci for “answers on the NIH’s beagle experiments” and to end “his long history of wasteful government spending in animal labs.” 
  • On July 27, 2021, PLOS published one study under Neglected Tropical Diseases “Enhanced attraction of sand fly vectors of Leishmania infantum to dogs infected with zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis” citing their ethics approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the Institut Pasteur de Tunis in Tunisia. The study received alleged funding from the US National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust.

Noah (Yes)

It has been recently reported and verified that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of which Dr. Anthony Fauci is the Director, has funded multiple experiments on puppies with taxpayer money via White Coat Waste. Unfortunately, this is not the first time these types of experiments have been conducted. For instance, in 2020, $424,000 of Taxpayer money was approved for a study on which healthy beagles were given an experimental drug and then intentionally infested with flies that carry a parasite that affects humans. In another experiment, $1.68 million of taxpayer money was approved going to 44 beagles between 6 and 8 months being injected with an experimental drug, then being killed and dissected.

The NIAID replied to these findings stating that some dog's vocal cords are removed because they would cry in pain so loud that the working conditions for humans violate OSHA. This is clearly unethical and immoral. While it is still unclear whether Dr. Fauci himself ordered these experiments, this is his responsibility as the Director of the NIAID. This is not the first controversy that has centered Dr. Fauci. The past two years have been full of controversial calls by him and unsettling findings regarding the allocation of taxpayer funding towards risky experimentation. 

PETA has called for the resignation of Fauci and other NIH heads, citing numerous other inhumane animal experiments calling them 'torture.' PETA is right. Dr. Fauci and others responsible for these experiments should resign immediately for the misappropriation of taxpayer funding towards inhumane and hazardous experimentation.

Chad (No)

Canceling Dr. Anthony Fauci is not the right way to address animal abuse issues in medical research as it is politically motivated. The White Coat Waste Project broke the story about the NIAID funding abusive research. While this project is well-intentioned and bi-partisan, they are ideologues making these claims, which cannot be backed up, such as that animal research is no longer needed or does not lead to new medicines.

When in fact, animal testing and research are behind nearly 'every prescription medicine available today.' Such practices have improved and saved countless human lives. 

While WCWP and PETA's work are commendable on many levels, this particular movement is politically motivated by the right. Usually, the right-wing, gun rights, red meat crowd rails against groups like PETA that espouse social justice, hunting bans, and veganism. But, when they can gain political capital by siding with them, they change their stance very quickly. 

Dr. Fauci pushed for mandates to help mitigate the public health issue, directly contradicting ex-President Trump. Since then, Fauci has been a target for these kinds of hyperbolic claims against him. Of the three studies in question, the one that got the most press attention was not even funded by Fauci's NIAID and was credited erroneously.

While these studies can be brutal and cruel, they are standard in the industry, and Fauci did not break any rules. If there is a strong desire to stop these experiments, ousting Fauci is not the solution. Doctors like Fauci need to be at the table if the political will is there, as they understand the methods and outcomes better than anyone else.

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