Saturday, February 2, 2019

You Paid For It...

You Paid For It: Vivaldi-listening Cats, Coked-up Quails, and Monkey Marriage Proposals

Noelle  Callahan
Posted: Feb 02, 2019 12:01 AM

And the winner of Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) January 2019 Squeal Award is…the National Institutes of Health (NIH)!
As Sen. Ernst explains in her press release: “The [NIH] supported ten different cat studies—funded from grants totaling $1.3 MILLION of your money—that concluded  classical music has an effect on cat behaviors. For example, a study found that after playing classical music for cats every day, they were less likely to poop outside of the litter box or cough up hairballs.”
Kudos to Sen. Ernst for letting the cat out of the bag about this boondoggle. Her report provides yet another a case study for why more transparency and accountability about federal spending on animal experiments are so badly needed.
NIH is especially deserving of Ernst’s dishonorable distinction. The agency squanders an estimated $15 billion annually on questionable animal experiments like these, roughly half of its entire research budget. At the same time, NIH’s own awardees report that 87.5 percent of biomedical research—especially animal experiments—is wasteful. Our two-million-member taxpayer watchdog group is the only organization dedicated to defunding the rampant waste and abuse in government animal laboratories.
Recently, in his holiday-time Waste Report, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote, “Sometimes, there are federal grants that perfectly encapsulate everything broken with the federal scientific research subsidization industry. One such grant is the much-popularized “quails on cocaine” study….” He was referring to an NIH-funded project in which quails were given cocaine and their sexual habits were observed in order to study “cocaine use and risky sexual practices” that have already been observed in humans. The cost to you and me? A cool $874,000.
It gets worse. As we documented in our “Ivy League Flunkers” report co-authored with former Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) organization Pursuit, Princeton University experimenters have spent over $3.7 million and counting in taxpayers’ money to study why humans can talk and monkeys can’t. Their proud achievement?Creating a computer simulation of what it might sound like for monkeys to say “Will you marry me?” Hard to believe taxpayers are funding this, right? Listen to the primate proposal that you paid for.

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