Opinion

Your Tax Dollars Were Spent Injecting Cocaine Into Monkey Brains For No Reason

Do monkeys make bad decisions after having cocaine injected into their brains?

That was just one of the scores of ridiculous questions the federal government wasted Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars attempting to answer in recent years.

In fact, tax dollars are currently funding nearly 100 senseless studies concerning the effects of recreational drugs on animals.

Fish were given cocaine, monkeys ate meth, rabbits received LSD and mice took morphine – all, ostensibly, in the name of science. These ongoing trials have killed tens of thousands of animals and cost taxpayers a total of more than $150 million, according to a new report co-authored by Animal Justice Project USA and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

This unique partnership between a leading animal rights organization and a premier taxpayer advocacy and government watchdog group discovered that the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse were the primary agencies responsible for financing the experiments responsible for both wasting tax dollars and killing helpless creatures.

The report ranks the Top-10 most outrageous taxpayer-funded recreational drug experiments on animals. Topping the list was $9.6 million in handouts to the Drexel College of Medicine in Pennsylvania over the past 30 years to inject LSD into the brains of rabbits to determine whether the drug caused the rabbits to blink more frequently.

A UCLA lab that blew $6.6 million on several recreational drug tests on mice was included in the report for a cruel experiment that forced mice to stand on sizzling hot plates. Researchers then measured how many times the animals jumped in pain or licked their paws to cool the burns.

Some of the mice tested consumed morphine, others were injected with cocaine and a final group had no drugs in their systems. The experimenters hoped to see if the mice reacted to pain differently depending on the drugs they were on.

Nearly $2 million was taken from American taxpayers to finance a Scripps Research Institute study to find out whether ecstasy, mephedrone or cocaine is most addictive to baby female rats.  The infant animals were decapitated at the end of the test so their brains could be studied.

Another $1.6 million went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, to determine if female rats are more likely to become addicted to cocaine than male rats. A Virginia Commonwealth University lab spent $1.1 million to force monkeys to become addicted to meth. The University of Kentucky studied whether lonely rats are more likely to take drugs, at a cost to taxpayers of $710,000.

The Institute on Drug Abuse granted the University of California, Irvine, $300,000 to starve rats, then give the famished critters cocaine. Some rats were given the cocaine orally, while the drug was injected into the others. The experiment was a total bust according to information found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

Many of the rats died before the experiment even began. Once the bumbling scientist managed to get the tests underway, the rats didn’t react the way the researchers wanted, so the animals were killed and the results were thrown out.

Even when the studies aren’t ruined by clumsy lab workers, they’re still almost useless.

Since the effects of most recreational drugs translate poorly from laboratory animals to humans, there is almost no scientific value to the distressing and extremely expensive studies – at least not until monkeys start trying to score crack and recreational drug addiction becomes a big problem in the animal kingdom.

Consequently, there was no valid reason to torture and kill the animals used in the studies, and also no justification for wasting millions of tax dollars in the process.

Because so many of the heartbreaking experiments that pump animals full of recreational drugs are completely pointless, many countries, including Italy and the UK, have outlawed testing recreational drugs on animals. The U.S. should follow suit.

As an immediate first step, Congress should ban the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and any other taxpayer-funded agencies from subsidizing recreational drug experiments on animals. This would not only save U.S. taxpayers an estimated $50 million a year, it would also save thousands of helpless creatures from painful tests and horrible deaths that serve no scientific purpose.