WASHINGTON – The "EPA Sucks." That's the name of White Coat Waste Project's latest campaign to end what they call outdated, wasteful experiments on animals conducted on the taxpayers' dime.
"We're talking about 20,000 animals a year, millions – millions of tax dollars – multi-million dollar programs," said Anthony Bellotti, president and founder of White Coat Waste Project.
"We're talking about forcing bunnies to inhale diesel truck exhaust," he continued. "We're talking about terrifying pregnant moms with loud noises, electroshocking babies. We're talking force-feeding mice and rats to the point of obesity and then expose them to this outdated pollution."
The taxpayer watchdog group released its latest campaign designed to end taxpayer-funded animal experiments to coincide with tax month.
"Mr. Speaker, we find a lot of ways to waste money in this town, but the EPA may have just reached a new low," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said during a recent impassioned speech on the House floor.
"We are spending $5 million on a study to force-feed rats lard and coconut oil until they're morbidly obese. Then we pump their enclosures full of exhaust until they die; then the EPA measures the amount of toxins in the fat cells of the rats as opposed to their skinny counterparts," he said.
"So we're borrowing money from the next generation so that we can fat-shame dead rats that we ourselves have poisoned in the government," Gaetz charged.
Ending taxpayer funding for government research on animals is an issue that unites Democrats and Republicans.
A poll conducted for WCW finds 68 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of Republicans support cutting federal spending on EPA animal testing.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is moving his agency in that direction, vowing to work with animal welfare groups on a game plan.
Last month, the EPA released a draft strategy to reduce the number of "vertebrate animals in chemical testing" for public comment.
"This draft strategy is a first step toward reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science to ensure chemicals are reviewed for safety with the highest scientific standards," Administrator Pruitt said in a statement.
"We have every indication that EPA intends to make good on this unprecedented opportunity to not only reduce animal use but improve the science used to evaluate chemical safety," said Catherine Willett, director of science policy at The Humane Society of the United States.
Bellotti says his organization has more than 400,000 supporters who want to see the government get out of the business of animal testing that costs taxpayers some $15 billion a year across a number of agencies.
"Anybody who pays federal taxes has a stake in this and the polling data shows they want to clean this up," Bellotti said.