Taxpayer watchdog group blasts wasteful spending on ‘crack monkeys’ that could be used to fight Zika

by | Aug 12, 2016

The White Coat Waste Project, a taxpayer watchdog group opposed to government funding of animal testing, is encouraging Congress to stop funding animal experiments and redirect the money to fight the Zika virus.

In a press release provided to The CapitolistAnthony Bellotti, the group’s president and founder, attacked federal spending on animal experiments as wasteful and better used to save human lives, and praised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio‘s efforts to obtain funding to fight Zika in Florida:

We have a situation here where actual, live human beings— including many innocent babies— are suffering as Zika spreads, apparently aided by a lack of funding to prevent, combat and treat the virus.


Congress could easily divert even a small slice of the egregious $12 billion wasted every year on redundant animal experiments to saving actual human lives. Sen. Rubio is right: Congress should return to the Capitol, and zero out funding for this kind of nonsense. Then it could put hardworking taxpayers’ money towards stopping a disease that is ruining lives and hurting families.

According to White Coat Waste Project, at least $12 billion is spent every year by the federal government ” funding cruel, duplicative experiments that do not save human lives or improve human health.”

A representative of the White Coat Waste Project described some of the experiments that are funded by the federal government. In addition to the infamous “shrimp on treadmills” study that went viral, millions of your taxpayer dollars have been spent on ridiculous experiments involving monkeys.

Researchers at Wake Forest University have been spending $7 million a year for 18 years giving cocaine to monkeys. The stated purpose of the study was to see whether stressful situations force rhesus monkeys to prefer cocaine or food. Researchers tested the monkeys by exposing them to rubber snakes.

The Oregon National Primate Center has been spending $2.8 million a year for 5 years to get monkeys drunk, studying “questions of stress and risk for excessive drinking” by giving “excessive ethanol self-administration” to rhesus monkeys.

The Oregon researchers are also spending your money to get monkeys fat. They’ve reportedly burned through over $10 million to induce a “couch potato” lifestyle by feeding the monkeys peanut butter, popcorn, and peanuts. While obesity is unquestionably a health concern for humans, as the New York Times pointed out, “some companies see no need to use primates to study obesity and diabetes… it is almost as easy to do human studies.”

Photo credit: Samuel Rodgers via Flickr.

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