The Animal Experimentation Scandal -- Federal Funding of Animal Experiments
During World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week 2005,
Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! released an investigative report that
reveals part of the mountain of money that is spent on animal
experimentation by the U.S. Government. This article contains the most
crucial information from this report. The full report is at
www.saenonline.org in the articles and reports section.
Animal experimentation is funded by many federal
agencies, including the Department of Defense, NASA, USDA, and many
parts of the Public Health Service (part of the Department of Health and
Human Services). Due to differences in funding mechanisms, approval
processes, and oversight methods, it would be extremely confusing to
discuss all of these agencies simultaneously. Therefore, we will focus
on: National Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDCP), Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ),
and Office of Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH). The grants for all
of these agencies are catalogued in the C.R.I.S.P. (Computer Retrieved
Information on Scientific Projects) system that is the primary source of
data used in this report.
The funding of animal experimentation has climbed
steadily to reach a total of 30,426 funded grants for 2003 -- a 42%
increase for a ten-year period. A conservative estimate of the current
annual expenditure for animal based experimentation as it is funded by
the agencies listed above is over $12 billion -- a 156% increase for a
Animal experimentation has become a financial boon for
individual facilities. The 50 top facilities averaged 311 animal based
projects costing an estimated $143,786,887 per year per facility for the
performance of animal experimentation. 33 of these facilities receive
over $100 million per year, and ten have reached approximately $200
million or more (the top lab received $440 million). See the adjacent
table for a listing of the top 40 labs.
It is also worth noting that 15 of the top 40 labs for
receiving federal funding for animal experimentation are also among the
top 25 offenders for violating federal laws regarding animal care.
Several specific areas of experimentation deserve
closer scrutiny regarding the issue of duplication. 175 separate
projects study neural information processing in macaque monkeys, with
127 of these studying visual neural information processing.
Additionally, 399 grants study cocaine in rats, mice, or macaque monkeys
potentially using more than $160 million annually. These agencies are
also currently funding 587 animal studies on alcohol in rats, mice, or
macaque monkeys that consume an estimated $235 million each year.
Addiction experimentation as a whole consumes $452 million annually.
Clearly, we should consider re-directing this funding towards programs
that directly benefit humans suffering from substance abuse, such as
Another substantial area of duplication, which has
been questioned by medical experts, is cancer research in rodents. These
seven agencies currently fund 3904 grants for rodent-based cancer
research with an annual cost of $1.6 billion. However, many medical
experts consider cancer research in rodents to be highly questionable
[i.e. -- “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing
cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it
simply didn’t work in humans.” (C Ray Greek and Jean Swingle Greek,
Sacred Cows and Golden Geese, The Continuum International Publishing
Group, 2000 p. 139)]
When all of these areas of duplication are taken
together, they total roughly $2.1 billion -- 17% of the overall total
for the funding of animal experiments by these agencies. The cost of
redundancy is terribly high.
The consumption of this funding in animal experiments
may also prevent U.S. citizens from accessing the social programs that
they need. How many people could be funded in substance abuse treatment
programs with the $452 million that is currently directed to animal
experiments in addiction? How many people will die for lack of
treatment? What will the cost be to our society in health care, criminal
justice, and other programs, because these people weren’t treated? What
is more important keeping multi-million dollar laboratories open or
keeping U.S. citizens alive and well?
It is time to end the process of writing the research
community a $12 billion blank check every year for the purpose of
performing animal experiments with little more than a vague hope that
any real benefits will result. Every day the agencies covered in this
audit spend over $33,396,161 on animal experiments.
A radical restructuring of the grant approval and
Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee systems is necessary to
prevent further waste of federal tax dollars and animal lives.
What You Can Do:
Please visit our website
www.saenonline.org for more
in-depth information, and contact your legislators to demand an
immediate 10% reduction in the funding of animal experimentation.
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Washington, D.C. 20510