Are Doctors Oz and Fauci Really Puppy Killers?
If you’re a dog lover, you’re probably disgusted about the allegation that Dr. Mehmet Oz killed over 300 puppies in a cruel experiment.
And speaking of cruel experiments, perhaps you were also outraged last year over the allegation that Dr. Anthony Fauci personally approved disturbing tests involving Beagles.
My inquiring mind wants to know: Are these allegations true? Here’s what I found out.
Between 1989 and 2010, Oz oversaw experiments that killed over 329 dogs, according to a story on Jezebel earlier this month. Oz, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, had “full scientific, administrative and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of the experiments performed at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine, according to the story. Dogs weren’t the only victims: other experiments killed 31 pigs and 661 rabbits and rodents.
About 20 years ago, veterinarian Catherine Dell’Orto testified that Oz’s experiments repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act, which requires researchers to give animals pain-relieving drugs and not experiment over and over again on the same animal.
In one horrible experiment allegedly witnessed by a veterinary technician, expired drugs were injected into the hearts of a litter of puppies without sedation. After the puppies died, they were tossed into a trash bag along with their living littermates. However, Dell’Orto told PEOPLE on Oct. 5 that the puppies were not killed by Oz and she didn’t know if he had any involvement in that experiment.
“But there are a lot of valid things he did wrong,” Dell’Orto added. Among those things was an experiment that left dogs left paralyzed and in pain for weeks before they were finally euthanized. In another experiment, Dell’Orto said pacemakers were inserted into some dogs’ hearts and then set to “a very high rate to induce heart failure.”
Oz spokeswoman Brittany Yannick told PEOPLE that Oz “was not personally involved in these incidents and to say otherwise is a lie. His name was on some forms due to his role within the Department of Surgery.”
Although Oz wasn’t personally involved, the experiments were still his responsibility. “When someone makes the choice to use an animal in a research experiment they should be 100 percent committed to reducing any suffering that animal will experience,” Dell’Orto told PEOPLE. “And I did not see that happening with Oz. I saw the opposite.”
VERDICT: Somewhat true. Not personally a puppy killer, but responsible for horrible experiments.
As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fauci approved funding for horrible medical testing on Beagles, at least according to 2021 blog posts on the website of the White Coat Waste Project (WCW), a Republican-led nonprofit whose mission is to end taxpayer-funded animal experiments,
“Fauci Funded $375K Beagle Torture Overseas, Too” was the headline of an Aug. 31, 2021 WCW blog post. A photo shows two drugged Beagles lying on their sides. Their heads are inside mesh cages filled with biting sand fleas, according to the caption.
Regarding this and other tests involving Beagles, the WCW insisted to PolitiFact that it was “100% confirmed that Fauci’s NIH division funded” the tests. However, the NIAID did not in fact fund the sand flea test; this was stated in error by the study’s authors. The journal that published the study later issued a correction.
Here’s another WCW headline, from an Oct. 5, 2021 blog post: “Fauci Wasted $1M+ to Poison Beagle Puppies, Cut Out Vocal Cords.” As proof, the post included a copy of a $1.68 million November 2019 order from the Drug Development and Clinical Sciences Branch of the NIAID. The order was for 44 Beagle puppies to be subjected to toxicity tests.
However, the medical news service MedPage reported that “Fauci himself did not sign off on the research contract” shown in the blog post.
Snopes reports that while it’s true that some of these studies were at least partly funded by NIAID with taxpayer dollars, “it is unclear whether such allocations were personally approved by Fauci.”
What’s interesting is that plenty of right-wing politicians were quick to jump on the #FauciLiedPuppiesDied bandwagon last year (ironically, elephant killer Donald Trump, Jr. even sold “Fauci Kills Puppies” T-shirts) — yet the WCW and all those others have been silent on the allegations about Dr. Oz killing puppies. Hmm.
VERDICT: Somewhat false. Not personally a puppy killer, and may not have approved cruel experiments.
Medical Testing on Dogs is Horrible, Period
The fact that medical testing on dogs and other animals is cruel and unnecessary is something we can all agree on, no matter our political leanings.