Florida GOP Congressmen Urge Biden to Stop Funding Russian-Run Animal Testing Labs

Last week, two Republican congressmen from Florida–U.S. Reps. Carlos Gimenez and Brian Mast–signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to “cut off all U.S. taxpayer funding to Russian labs who experiment on animals in an extremely cruel way.”

U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., led the letter.

“The torture these poor animals are being forced to go through is absolutely inhumane and unnecessary,” said McClain. “Our tax dollars should never be going to our foreign adversaries, especially as the U.S. puts crippling sanctions on the Kremlin. It’s commonsense to stop funding this inhumane research.”

McClain to a report from White Coat Waste (WCW) Project investigation which found that recently almost $550,000 in NIH funds went to the Pavlov Institute of Physiology which ran experiments on cats. According to WCW Project, these included experiments “in which healthy cats had portions of their brains removed, electrodes implanted in their spines, and were forced to walk on a treadmill in spinal cord experiments.”

Mackie Burr from WCW Project weighed in on Tuesday.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay white coats in the Russian government to torture and kill cats in wasteful treadmill experiments. As White Coat Waste Project exposed, there are four Kremlin-run animal testing labs that NIH has authorized to receive our money, and U.S. sanctions against Russia should include defunding them. We applaud Rep. McClain and her colleagues for urging President Biden to cut taxpayer funding for Russian animal testing labs,” Burr said.

The letter sent to Biden is below.

Our democratic ally Ukraine is facing repeated, daily attacks from invading Russian forces. Despite this mobilization, the Ukrainian people have inspired the world with their valiant bravery. As Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, the United States and other nations have come together and levied numerous sanctions meant to cripple the Kremlin. We write you today demanding you to target another sector of the Russian state: research labs funded in part by U.S. tax dollars.

The Russian Federation currently has four labs approved by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to receive funding from U.S. tax dollars. They are the Gamaleya Research for Epidemiology and Microbiology, the Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy Sciences, Institute of Cytology of Russian Academy of Science-Saint Petersburg, and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The White Coat Waste Project recently exposed hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars going to the Pavlov Institute through grant funding. The White Coat Waste Project exposed that this institute conducted horrific and barbaric experiments on eighteen cats. This grant is scheduled to expire on May 31, 2022. The experiment itself was the “Rostrocaudal Distribution of the C-Fos-Immunopositive Spinal Network Defined by Muscle Activity during Locomotion.” Specifically, it was found that eighteen healthy cats had portions of their brain removed, while electrodes were implanted in their spines. The cats were then subsequently forced to walk on a treadmill for spinal cord experiments.

The U.S. government has a troubling history of sending U.S. tax dollars to adversarial countries for cruel and wasteful animal research and testing. While this recent revelation is enough to make the stomach churn for any American, it is even more infuriating when you consider the fact these foreign grants are still active while Russia is despicably trying to overthrow, by military force, the government of our sovereign democratic ally, Ukraine.

Our foreign adversaries, especially ones run by tyrants, should not be given U.S. tax dollars to conduct heinous animal research. This should be a bipartisan, common-sense position. As such, you must take swift and decisive action to block any further U.S. tax dollars from going to Russian research labs.

Kevin Derby
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