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A conservative political consultant wants to end government funding for research involving animal subjects

MICHAEL SCHULSON: ‘If there’s any activist who can thrive in Donald Trump’s Washington, it’s Anthony Bellotti, a conservative political consultant who is adept at social media campaigns, at ease with the press, and fluent in the language of small-government politics… But his current effort, called the White Coat Waste Project, has what many might consider an unusual crossover appeal. The group aims to stop government-funded animal research, using a mix of Tea Party-ready rhetoric about government waste and heart-tugging appeals to animal-lovers of all political persuasions.

Toward that end, Bellotti makes a straightforward pitch: Animal research, he argues, is cruel, unnecessary, inefficient, and expensive. Plus, much of it is funded by taxpayers, whether they like it or not. The solution, according to White Coat Waste’s website, is to “drain the swamp” and “cut federal spending that hurts animals and Americans.” “We’re taking an old issue in a new light,” Bellotti told me. “We’re building a broad left-right coalition for one issue we can all agree on — libertarian, vegetarian”.

In the past 12 months, White Coat Waste has focused particular attention on research conducted under the auspices of the Department of Veterans Affairs, shuttering one project in California, triggering internal investigations of a VA lab in Virginia, and helping to get an amendment through the House eliminating funding for VA dog research… The Food and Drug Administration has also been a Bellotti target, and after more than a year of pressure from White Coat Waste, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb shut down an agency research project on nicotine addiction last month, over concerns about its treatment of squirrel monkey subjects’. SOURCE…

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