Taxpayers unwittingly funded the same “wet markets” and laboratories in China that lawmakers turned to during the coronavirus pandemic.
As recently as 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture purchased live animals, such as cats and dogs, with US taxes on Chinese meat markets similar to that of Wuhan, which has been linked to first cases of COVID-19. The department also paid to have the animals slaughtered and brought back to the United States for experiments in which their remains were fed to other animals.
One study involved feeding the body parts of euthanized cats in the kittens market as part of a project that the taxpayer watchdog White Coat Waste Project called “the kitten cannibalism”. The experiments aimed to study a parasite responsible for food-borne toxoplasmosis and cost $ 22 million over several years before stopping in 2019.
As the world continues to fight coronavirus, Congress has turned its attention to these markets in China, which have reportedly reopened, even though the USDA bought them animals. A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday called on the world’s major health groups to push for a global ban on these “wet markets” after reports that the coronavirus could come from “a zoonotic source” in Wuhan.
“In order to help prevent the next pandemic, we are writing today to urge your organizations to take decisive action towards the global closure of the wildlife markets and a ban on international trade in wildlife that is not intended for conservation purposes, “urged the group.
Some members of Congress have also speculated that the new coronavirus was the result of an accidental laboratory leak from the Chinese super-laboratory biosafety level 4 that the US government also funded.
The National Institutes of Health have authorized two animal testing laboratories at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which studies human infectious diseases a few kilometers from the local market, to receive taxes for animal testing. Some of this research included studies on coronaviruses involving bats which, according to some lawmakers, could have been a catalyst for the epidemic.
The agency has authorized 22 other taxpayer-funded animal experiments in other laboratories in China, and reports have indicated that experimental animals from some of these facilities were sold after use in “wet markets” for consumption.
“When I learned that our government was spending taxpayer money in the disgusting wet markets of China to buy and slaughter cats and dogs for cruel experiments, I helped lead the successful effort to put it there. end of last year, “said Matt Gaetz, who helped end the USDA kitten experiments, told Washington Examiner.
“I am disgusted to learn that for years the US government has funded dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which may have contributed to the global spread of the coronavirus, and research into other laboratories in China that have virtually no oversight from US authorities, “said the Republican from Florida. “It is unnecessary and unacceptable for American taxpayers to fund these institutions, and that must stop now.”
“Uncle Sam splurged on America’s hard-earned taxes in China’s despicable” wet markets “, where scientists believe COVID-19 originated, and is still forcing American taxpayers to subsidize animal abuse in controversial Chinese animal testing labs that could sell even mistreated and infected animals in wet markets, “added Anthony Bellotti, founder and president of the White Coat Waste Project.
Neither the USDA nor the NIH responded to requests for comment.