During a segment of ABC News‘ Full Measure program this past Sunday, reporter Sharyl Attkisson dedicated a segment of the show to a controversy surrounding laboratory tests involving the use of beagles conducted at National Institutes of Health (NIH) facilities.
During her report, Attkisson gave some time to scientists involved in the vivisection and also featured videos by Americans for Medical Progress in an attempt to give time to the medical research side but the weight of her newscast favored the opposition, White Coast Waste Project. However, Attkisson also left out certain crucial facts.
For example, the accusation that the VA lab in Richmond, Virginia intentionally lied about not using beagles in its 2016 experiments, most likely, was a simple, honest mistake. Whether or not the facility used beagles in its research last year is immaterial to the issue. As far back as 2013 there have been reports of beagles adopted from that facility in which the Humane Society and other groups have adoption programs established for beagles no longer needed or used for research.
For animal rights groups like White Coast Waste Project to accuse NIH lab employees of lying and complaining about the lack of transparency due to incomplete records is the height of hypocrisy if not irony. Like I have outlined before and what Sharyl Attisson failed to mention, is that animal rights groups are notorious for using information from public records to harass personnel at medical research facilities that utilize animals for their research.
A couple of years ago, Science Insider revealed the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) used Freedom of Information Act requests in order to harass medical laboratories like the one at Ohio State University. BFP accused the facility’s staff violated National Institute of Health policies by allegedly purchasing beagles from dealers who sold abused or stolen animals. As Science Insider also points out, in 2013 NIH required researchers financed by the agency could not purchase random source dogs after October 1, 2015. Animal research using beagles subsidized after 2015 were no longer allowed. BFP alleged the OSU lab had violated USDA mandates by continuing to use a random source dog past the time allowed to do so which lab spokesperson denied.
White Coast Waste Project’s campaign is only an effort to harass and intimidate firms (in this case entities of the US government) that use animals for medical tests and will ultimately be used to smear or slander facilities. That includes even persecution of personnel involved in vivisection. There are alternatives to animal testing but many times they are not effective or sophisticated enough to replace using animals.
It is wrong to treat animals cruelly and break laws or policies established for medical experimentation. But this effort on the part of White Coat Waste Project ultimately is about denying humans life saving treatments and therapies resulting from medical research in order to kill people off due to their hatred of human life. It is not about saving animals from alleged cruelty, exposing government cover ups, nor trying to halt vivisection performed at taxpayer expense.
Sharyl Attkisson’s report on animal research is fake news because it is completely biased and overlooked key, vital facts. If she had done actual research she would realize the reason why USDA purged the laboratory records in question is due to animal rights group harassment, and not any kind of conspiracy or cover up.
Such a biased report like this should into question call Attkisson’s credentials as a journalist. The subject of this report should have been the fraud and harassment campaign of groups like White Coat Waste Project, not the National Institute of Health’s use of animals in their medical tests or how they are financed.