Five federal agencies held 1,183 dogs in captivity in 2015, and 294 of them were used by the government in experiments that caused the animals "significant pain and distress," says a new report from the White Coat Waste Project, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to stopping tax-funded vivisection.
The testing was mostly conducted on beagles, the report notes, "because of their small size and docile temperament, the same qualities that make them beloved pets." Experiments involved "exposing dogs to anthrax, forcing them to suffer heart attacks, and drilling into their skulls."
The report has caught the notice of 13 members of the House of Representatives, who are now seeking a full audit of federal animal experimentation. "Unfortunately we have discovered it is impossible to determine what federal animal research programs currently entail, what they cost, and if they meet federal standards because of the limited and decentralized information available publicly," said the representatives in a letter to the Government Accountability Office. One firm dollar figure the White Coat Waste report was able to cite is that taxpayers spent nearly $6 million in the past five years on experiments that gave dogs heart attacks.
The five agencies overseeing the vivisections are the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Defense, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. An additional 60,000 dogs are held for experimental use in universities and other laboratories that receive federal funding.