Dr. Fauci didn’t kill puppies

In 2021, a Republican advocacy group accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of funding “cruel” drug and vaccine testing on beagles. Rightwing media ran with the story, which became known as “Beaglegate,” and Don Trump Jr. even sold “Fauci kills puppies” t-shirts (photo below).

Dr. Fauci dismissed the group’s allegations as “ludicrous,” and a Daily Beast article on June 15, 2024, called it “the curious case of the fake puppy killing scandal.” (Read the article here.)

When, a well-known debunking website, looked into the group’s claims, their conclusions were more nuanced. They found that two studies funded by Dr. Fauci’s division “did, indeed, involve using beagles as test subjects” and these dogs were euthanized, but did not find any evidence that Dr. Fauci was involved in approving this research. (Read their report here.)

Thus, puppies were killed, but Dr. Fauci hasn’t confessed and the amateur detectives on the case have no evidence tying him to the “crime.”

Animal experiments are controversial. Animal lovers oppose them, while researchers defend them. Live animal experiments are subject to ethical guidelines, and researchers who received NIH funding must comply with federal regulations protecting test animals from cruel treatment.

The group accusing Dr. Fauci was started by a Republican, and its agenda is waste of taxpayer money, not animal welfare. Their complaint wasn’t that beagles were experimented on, but that nearly half a million tax dollars were spent on the experiments.

There’s no reason why people can’t be against both the experiments and the tax expenditures. But it hasn’t been shown that Dr. Fauci had anything to do with this research.

What he didn’t do was blow away a dog and a goat in a gravel pit with a shotgun, as the Republican governor of South Dakota did, or kick a dog like a Florida trailer park resident did before he was arrested for threatening to kill Hillary Clinton.

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