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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

The Defender
Vol. 4, No. 1 - Spring 2005

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 ten-year period.

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 treatment programs.

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.

The Honorable____________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Senator __________________
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

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