Fox News, which has in the past mocked the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as "People Eating Tasty Animals," now appears to have embraced the organization amid reports that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded a study that involves giving hormone therapy to monkeys.
The news outlet attacked NIAID, which is headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has faced relentless criticism from right-wing news outlets that have undermined the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, accusing it of engaging in “cruel research on monkeys that eighth-grader could determine was bogus.”
Speaking on his program, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson claimed Fauci was "caught trying to create a transgender monkeys," a grossly misleading assertion furthered by PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo, who said the study demonstrates Fauci is "not a very good human being."
Carlson did not invite an actual researcher on his program to explain why the study—which aims to help transgender women avoid HIV—might be necessary.
You can hear what they said in the video below.
Carlson thanked Guillermo for speaking on his program and went on to suggest that "so many of these animal experiments seem completely pointless":
"They're inflicting massive cruelty on animals who are helpless and they seem driven by research dollars... if you treat animals, particularly evolved animals like monkeys like they can't experience pain or their suffering has no meaning."
"I mean that's clearly their attitude and that's clearly the attitude of a lot of people in the scientific community, Tony Fauci included, honestly."
PETA also mischaracterized the study, claiming in a press release that the study amounted to little more than "a pointless, wasteful monkey torture experiment."
The study's authors note that their research "will investigate whether feminizing hormone therapy (FHT) can contribute to the high incidence of HIV infection among transgender women," adding:
"To that end, FHT will be modeled in male rhesus macaques to determine whether it increases the availability of HIV "target" cells in the gut mucosa and whether FHT interferes with a prophylactic immune intervention."
"Ultimately, this project will advance our understanding of the pharmacodynamics of FHT and how it affects immune responses in biological males."
PETA and Carlson have faced significant criticism in the wake of the interview.
Fox News has previously run pieces mocking PETA, including one in which the news outlet made light of the organization's insistence that insults like "pig" and "chicken" hurt animals.