Rand Paul’s Festivus Report: U.S. Spent Millions Grinding Up Ferrets, Constructing Walls in the Middle East

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asks questions about FISA and Crossfi
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The U.S. government spent millions of dollars on a range of bizarre projects, including grinding up ferrets to develop vaccines and constructing walls in the Middle East, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) annual Festivus Report reveals.

The Festivus Report details wasteful projects on which the government spent taxpayer dollars. The Kentucky senator’s seventh annual Festivus Report found $52,598,515,585 in government waste this year.

One of the wasteful projects featured on the list this year spent $4.5 million on using ferrets for the development of experimental drugs and vaccines (emphasis in original):

Millions of dollars are spent each year to breed animals with the intent to use them for testing. Since 2010, the American taxpayer has given Triple F Farms $4.5 million for the breeding and transporting of ferrets to COVID-19 and influenza vaccine testing laboratories,” Paul’s report reads, detailing a 2011 undercover investigation which uncovered “video recordings of ferrets dying in feces, run over by carts, thrown alive into incinerators, hanging from wire.”

“The Department of Agriculture (USDA) later confirmed these violations but only fined Triple F Farms just under $44,000, a minor slap on the wrist compared to the millions of dollars of your taxpayer funds they received before and after the investigation,” the report continued, mentioning recent USDA reports that reveal that abuse continues, “citing excessive piles of feces, scabs on the skin, empty feed bags, and soiled enclosures.”

“If a facility has been found multiple times to be blatantly abusing ferrets, an animal many keep as family pets, why would the Federal government allow them to continue being used in advancing drug development?” the report asked.

The report also revealed that Congress gave the Defense Department $250 million to build border walls — structures Democrats at home have long referred to as racist as part of their argument against the U.S.-Mexico border wall — in the Middle East and North Africa.

Per Paul’s report:

So, in the December 2020 blow-out appropriations bill, Congress spent $250 million on “enhanced border security” in the Middle East and North Africa. Meanwhile, the United States immigration system still has much work to be done. While we were busy funding other countries’ immigration systems, in December 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received a “flood” of new DACA applications, ultimately resulting in a considerable backlog of over 81,000 applications, according to the agency. 

Another highlight of Paul’s report is the $465,339 the NIH granted to Reed College of Portland, Oregon, which hoped to “create a token-based economy where pigeons are taught to gamble with slot machines”:

The researchers admitted that this study focuses “on laboratory models rather than practical applications,” but go on to explain that the findings should still be used — i.e. funded by your taxpayer money — to further study “behavioral economics” in humans. The United States is over $28 trillion dollars in debt. Is studying pigeon gambling habits worth adding to the mountain of debt for which future generations will become responsible? 

Paul’s report also found that the U.S. government spent a whopping $400 million planting trees in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) New York City:

What if we told you that you could rake in some cash for pulling up your sleeves and planting some trees? Well, as part of the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), New York City put $400 million of their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds toward the MillionTreesNYC initiative, in which the City’s Parks Department and local homeowners plant trees across the city. 

Planting 1 million trees between 2007 to 2017, the primary purpose of the project is to “make New York City more sustainable” and “protect our planet.” 

According to Paul, the Nature Conservancy admits “there is no comprehensive plan or sufficient, long-term funding for managing the city’s trees in the years ahead,” meaning “not a penny is spent to keep these trees and  the $400 million legacy alive.”

Paul’s entire Festivus Report can be found here.


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