Animals Forced To Run On Treadmills And Other Important Federal Budget Items

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn released his annual Wastebook on Wednesday, a work detailing government waste in its most egregious and bizarre forms.

“With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem is not just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing,” Dr. Coburn said. “Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects.”

This edition is filled with examples like rabbits being treated to a Swedish massage four times a day at taxpayer expense. But not all rabbits were lucky. Some had to wait for their massages, while others in the control group didn’t receive any massages at all. At the end of the day, they all equally suffered the same fate at the end of the study. They were euthanized.

Taxpayers paid $387,000 to make the study possible. The scientists concluded that massage for rabbits seemed to be helpful in some cases for recovery after being forced to exercise to induce stress. Findings from the study are still shrouded in confusion, however, since scientists weren’t sure if they could even generalize from rabbit physiology to human physiology. The obsession with treadmills doesn’t appear to have ended. Mountain lions, rats, and cows were forced onto treadmills. A previous edition found that scientists placed shrimp on treadmills to see that if exercise made them tired and less healthy.

In another example, academics tried to teach monkeys to gamble.

The government also sponsored a children’s play on brain-eating zombies. The Army also used funds to develop a first-person shooter video game, at which point it fell into Hezbollah hands and is now readapted to train suicide bombers. Around $10,000 was spent on watching grass grow. One program attempted to see if sea monkeys could be taught synchronized swimming.

On the human side of fiscal waste, Sen. Coburn discovered that over 250 federal government employees were placed on leave for over a year, collecting up to $31 million dollars in salary. Around 4,000 other employees were placed on leave for over 8 months, with the Department of Agriculture abusing administrative leave the most.

“Given the high cost to taxpayers, it is important that each federal agency increase its accountability and improve its stewardship of the use of paid administrative leave,” William P. Milton Jr., a human resources official at the department, wrote in response to the claims of Sen. Coburn’s report.

The Office of Personnel Management agreed with the findings, saying it will try and tighten up procedures relating to administrative leave.

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