Animal rights group sparked anger against Fauci
- One newspaper mistakenly listed NIAID as a funder for a study that featured beagles trapped in netting.
- Images of the beagles went viral and Dr Anthony Fauci received a swarm of angry calls.
- An animal rights group used anti-Fauci sentiments to advance their cause, The Washington Post reported.
Dr Anthony Fauci and his office received thousands of calls and a wave of anger after a little-known animal rights group backed a false claim that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had funded inhuman experiments on the beagle, The Washington Post reported.
The Post reported that Fauci’s assistant had to stop answering calls for two weeks due to their frequency.
According to the Post, the ordeal began in July when researchers in the study, conducted in Tunisia, published an article that mistakenly listed NIAID as a funder.
An image from this study which presented Beagles trapped in sandfly infested nets went viral.
The journal in which the research was published published a correction October 26, but at that time, the white coat waste project had previously “taken advantage of existing hostility among conservatives towards Fauci to further his cause,” the Post reported.
The Post reported that the group used animosity against Fauci during the pandemic to advance the idea that NIAID was funding these studies and continued to use the viral image to do so.
At the end of October, the group released a declaration claiming that they were not opposed to Fauci but simply defended animal rights.
“To be clear: it is 100% possible to be ‘neck and neck’ with Dr Fauci on most policy and public issues,” the group said in the statement, “but go ‘face to face’ with him on the subject of beagle experiments. “
However, at this point, Jeff Yang, research director at the California-based nonprofit Institute for the Future that studies the flow of information online, told the Post that it is likely that posts on Fauci have been seen billions.
“He’s been transformed into this supervillain, a caricature of a mad scientist planning experiments to torture puppies, and it’s kind of mind-blowing,” Yang told the Post. “The Fauci-puppy meme has become a phenomenon.”
The reports even prompted a group of bipartisan lawmakers to send a letter to Fauci on Oct. 21 asking him about animal testing funded by NIAID.
The White Coat Waste Project did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, but spokesperson Justin Goodman told the Post they still believe NIAID funded the study.
Goodman also defended the use of anti-Fauci sentiments to advance the group’s cause.
“When you have such a prominent person pointing your finger at funding animal experiments, it would be professional misconduct not to do so,” he told The Post.