By Alisa Mullins
A report issued this week by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blasts 100 "questionable," "mismanaged," and "poorly planned" stimulus-funded projects, including an especially cruel and wasteful experiment that the report aptly calls "Monkeys Getting High for Science." (No, it isn't another Onion story, unfortunately.) The study in question is being conducted at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, which nabbed $71,623 in stimulus funds (i.e., tax dollars) to feed cocaine to monkeys.
"I think all of [the projects] are waste," McCain told ABC News. "[S]ome are more egregious than others but all of them are terrible."
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Hooking monkeys on coke definitely falls into the "more egregious" category. Unfortunately, the idiotic study is just a drop in the proverbial crack pipe. Other mind-bogglingly absurd addiction studies on animals include the following:
-- National Institutes of Health–funded experimenter Michael Weed trained monkeys in a basic motor task, infected them with simian immunodeficiency virus, and then checked how they performed the task—while on cocaine. So now we know … what? That you shouldn't hire monkeys with STDs who are high on drugs to mow your lawn?
-- Yale professor Marina Picciotto wasted taxpayer money to feed monkeys Kool-Aid laced with huge amounts of liquid nicotine (the equivalent of 17 packs of cigarettes a day in one case!) and addicted rats and mice to cocaine, morphine, and alcohol before decapitating them. Sounds like somebody's addicted to cruelty.
-- Oregon National Primate Research Center experimenter Eliot Spindel impregnates monkeys and injects them with dangerous levels of nicotine. He then kills and dissects their preterm babies after cutting them out of their mothers. Yeah, pregnant women shouldn't smoke—we know that already.
-- Another frequent rider of the NIH gravy train, Stephen Suomi, separates baby monkeys from their mothers and gives them access to alcohol to see how stress and maternal deprivation affect their desire to drown their sorrows. Just reading about this makes me want to head to the nearest bar.
Please help prevent more money from being flushed down the laboratory drain by asking the National Institutes of Health to stop funding addiction experiments on animals.