By Erin Thompson
For those of us living in South Florida, it is an everyday occurrence to get into an automobile and drive on an interstate highway or state turnpike in order to reach a destination of our choosing. It is also commonplace to become stuck in traffic because there is a considerable amount of construction on these highways. The phrase that normally comes to mind for most while slowly driving past these construction zones would be something along the lines of, “There go my tax dollars hard at work.”
In truth, the majority of hard-working Americans are acquainted with the notion that the money they pay in taxes each year serves the usual suspects: Homeland Security, Social Security, the Health Department, the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation. But what about other industries that are funded every year by our tax dollars and yet that go unaccounted for?
Federal tax dollars are funding animal research projects. Whether the taxpayer agrees or disagrees with the use of animals in laboratory testing arenas is of no importance to the United States government.
The White Coat Waste project, a non-profit organization that brings awareness to the unnecessary spending of taxpayer funds on unreported animal research, states that “professors at Ohio State University (OSU) spent over $1.9 million of your money to induce heart attacks in small hounds, like beagles, while forcing them to run on treadmills. After killing the dogs, OSU concluded: exercise may be good for you.”
Ohio State University is not the only perpetrator when it comes to spending tax-payer dollars on useless research that harms innocent animals. Again, according to the White Coat Waste project, “the taxpayer funded Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) isolates frightened monkeys in tiny cages while feeding them fatty foods and sugary drinks. After the study is completed, ONPRC kills the monkeys to examine their brains.” Before death, the isolation they experience prevents the monkeys from participating in their natural behavior, which later causes emotional stress and depression.
There is a modest glimpse of hope on the horizon. On February 1st, 2017, in Washington, D.C., Congressman Ken Calvert, of California, initiated the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act. As stated by a press release earlier this month, “the FACT Act would improve reporting by EPA, FDA, NIH, USDA and other government agencies about their efforts to replace inefficient, multi-million dollar animal tests with faster, less costly and more effective alternative methods for assessing the safety of chemicals, drugs, foods, cosmetics and other substances.”
With the FACT Act, research facilities like Ohio State University and the ONPRC might be persuaded to change their barbaric and inaccurate methods of animal testing to an alternative approach such as the in vitro test methods and models that are based on human cell and tissue cultures.
It is about time that we all agree that non-human animals are sentient beings. Similar to human animals, non-human animals have emotions and feel pain. The Humane Party recognizes these similarities and strives to bring humane resolutions to inhumane problems.