Did Fauci break the John Wick rule -- never kill the dog?

This image released by Lionsgate shows Keanu Reeves in a scene from, "John Wick: Chapter 2." (Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate via AP)

Come on, man. Even Roland Emmerich understood that you never kill the puppies, ensuring that the lovable labrador survived in Independence Day despite the absurd physics involved. Allahpundit alluded to this in his earlier post about Anthony Fauci’s interview with George Stephanopoulos, but it appears that the NIAID director may have finally run afoul of bipartisan ire … over a particularly cruel experiment in Tunisia involving puppies:

Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing calls from a bipartisan group of legislators to respond to allegations that his National Institutes of Health division provided a grant to a lab in Tunisia to torture and kill dozens of beagle puppies for twisted scientific experiments.

In a letter to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and 23 colleagues addressed their “grave concerns about reports of costly, cruel, and unnecessary taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs.”

“According to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, and subsequent media coverage from October 2018 until February 2019, NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies,” the Thursday letter reads.

The White Coat Waste Project report claimed that the researchers locked the dogs in cages with hungry sandflies so that the insects could eat them alive.

It won’t surprise anyone to see the New York Post and Fox News jump all over Fauci. However, The Hill also provides feature coverage of criticism of Fauci over these experiments. Even those who normally support animal experimentation to advance medical science wonder what in the world NIAID was thinking in funding this research:

Leading the effort is Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), writing a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saying the cordectomies are “cruel” and a “reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.”

“Our investigators show that Fauci’s NIH division shipped part of a $375,800 grant to a lab in Tunisia to drug beagles and lock their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies so that the insects could eat them alive,” White Coat Waste told Changing America. “They also locked beagles alone in cages in the desert overnight for nine consecutive nights to use them as bait to attract infectious sand flies.”

Mace’s letter was signed by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Scott Franklin (R-Fla.), Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Maria E. Salazar (R-Fla.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)

Perhaps the experiment itself could be justified for some purpose of human medicine. But this part seems especially — and needlessly — cruel, if true:

White Coat Waste claims that 44 beagle puppies were used in a Tunisia, North Africa, laboratory, and some of the dogs had their vocal cords removed, allegedly so scientists could work without incessant barking.

This bizarre experiment has produced what might otherwise be a strange-bedfellows situation. It marries critics of Fauci over his actions related to COVID-19 with those (primarily on the Left) who oppose animal experimentation altogether. Both sides could benefit from this, but the long-term benefit is more likely to the animal-rights activists. Pushing Fauci out of his job would be a one-off win for conservatives angry over Fauci’s arbitrary and capricious approach to mandates and mitigation, but his replacement won’t likely be much of an improvement. On the other hand, the stain from this experiment — even if it can be explained away — will likely leave long-term damage to legitimate animal-based research.

Not that this experiment doesn’t deserve criticism. Unless Fauci or the NIAID can provide a compelling case for broad benefit to humanity from this process, or that the reports are substantially in error, then they deserve every public beating they get. They should just remember that it could be worse … if John Wick’s puppy was part of the experiment (NSFW for violence and language):

Addendum: I should point out that the first cinematic effort entirely in Irish (Gaeilge) was a film called Poitin, which definitely didn’t follow the dog rule. Poitin is bleak even by Irish film standards, but it’s an excellent independent film from Bob Quinn that starred Cyril Cusack and Mick Lally, both of whom went on to wide acclaim.