The Animal Experimentation Scandal - 2006

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The Animal Experimentation Scandal - 2006
An Audit of the 2005 National Institutes of Health Funding of Animal Experimentation
By Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN

Research Duplication

The finding of a significant increase in the number of grants funded by the agencies which are catalogued in the CRISP system leads to several questions. Perhaps the most important of these questions deals with the issue of duplication. Are all of these research projects necessary? Are they unique and innovative? Are any of these grants redundant? Are those researchers who are being trusted by the NIH et al to perform medical research defrauding the American taxpayer?

While it is not within the scope of this audit to fully answer questions of this nature, certain conclusions can be drawn from a relatively limited number of additional searches that have been run using the CRISP system. Eight species were used to examine addiction experimentation: rats, mice guinea pigs, rabbits, pigeons, macaque monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and baboons (chosen to illustrate the range of species used). The results of these searches were very disturbing. There are currently (for fiscal 2005) 1200 separate projects (costing a potential $495,600,000 per year) that examine addiction experiments in these species. 1100 (92%) of these projects are centered in just three species – rats, mice and macaque monkeys. Clearly, there is a high level of duplication in this area.

778 projects study neural information processing, an even more specialized area, in 11 species costing an estimated $321,314,000. Again, the majority of experiments (644 or 83%) are done in only three species – rats, mice & macaque monkeys.

Several questions arise from these findings? Are these studies based on science or finance? Are these species used chosen for scientific reasons or simply for convenience? Why are we spending almost ½ billion per year making drug addicts out of animals when humans often cannot find treatment programs for lack of federal funding? Details of these duplication issues are contained in Appendix B.

Duplicative areas of experimentation were examined at many of the top 30 facilities (see the list below), and it is a major concern. In only these two areas of duplicative research, addiction and neural information processing, many projects are underway at the top 30 labs. The top facilities for duplication which also made the top 30 list are:

Facility

# Projects in two areas of duplication

Cost of Duplication

Emory

18

$7.4 million

Vanderbilt

17

   $7 million 

Johns Hopkins University

15

$6.2 million

Harvard

15

$6.2 million

NYU/Mt. Sinai

14

$5.8 million

Washington University (MO)

12

   $5 million

University of Michigan

12

   $5 million

Scripps

11

$4.5 million

University of TX, Dallas

11

$4.5 million

Yale

9

$3.7 million

Total

134

$55 million

These ten facilities alone wasted $55 million on 134 potentially duplicative projects in only two areas of experimentation. When the over 1000 research facilities in the U.S. and the dozens of areas of possibly duplicative research are considered, the potential for the waste of both federal funding and animals’ lives is staggering.

Statistical Highlights

Ø Research Duplication Waste in only two areas of $817 million annually in addiction and neural information processing research.

Ø $495,600,000 spent annually by the federal government on 1200 grants regarding drug and alcohol addiction experiments in rats, mice and macaque monkeys.

Ø $321,314,000 spent annually on highly duplicative neural information processing experiments in eleven species.

Ø 10 universities wasted $55 million in only two areas of duplicative research in one year. When this concept is expanded to cover all labs in all areas of experimentation the waste is likely in the billions.

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