Taxpayer-Funded Science: Rats, Cocaine, and Miles Davis Edition

Posted: Apr 19, 2012 4:31 PM

Last year, scientists made a crucial discovery: yes, coked-out rats are more likely to appreciate the complexities of Miles Davis than are sober rats. I can almost hear Jack Kerouac's "Duh," from beyond the grave.

The study was intended to further research on ending drug dependency, but its findings seem...redundant. And who foot the bill for this most pressing of experiments? Why, you, of course!

Taxpayers may feel kind of blue when they discover their dollars went to fund a study to determine rats like to bop to the music of Miles Davis while hopped up on cocaine.

The study, which was performed at Albany Medical College, drew jeers from the animal rights group In Defense of Animals and landed it on its top ten list of Real Ridiculous Research.

The research found that sober rats don’t really like music that much. After the silence, the rats liked Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” more than Miles Davis’s iconic jazz tune “Four.”

But when the rats were given doses of cocaine, their tasted shifted and they gravitated toward the jazz.

The studies, which were funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, were aimed at analyzing the links between pharmacology and neurology in drug abuse.

“These experiments... show that your tax dollars and animals’ lives are frivolously wasted on research that adds nothing to medical progress and tells us nothing we care to know — or didn't know already,” In Defense of Animals wrote in its introduction to the list.

Yes, it's good to know that our money is being spent in so many responsible ways. And this is but one example of the absurd scientific "causes" backed by public funding. In Defense of Animals has a list of ten of them here -- and warning, some of them are fairly graphic and gross (also note, despite linking to that site, I'm a fervent advocate for animal-rich diets).

How about, instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lab rat benders, we put that money toward more worthy scientific endeavors? Or better yet, pay down that $15 trillion we owe?