Chicken-Fried News: Hare, hare! 

click to enlarge (Madeline Hancock)
  • Madeline Hancock

The U.S. government might not be spending enough money on Ebola research, which could come in handy as the disease spreads across West Africa.

But next time a small animal cramps up after playing in the backyard, Uncle Sam will be ready.

The National Institutes of Health spent $387,000 last year to research the effect of Swedish massages on rabbits, an expenditure that was pointed out by Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual report on wasteful government spending, also known as Wastebook.

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins drew attention last month when he said increased funding over the past 10 years for Ebola research would probably have resulted in a vaccine.

An extra $387,000 probably wouldn’t have resulted in a vaccine, but Coburn’s Wastebook highlight of rabbit massages shows that maybe there is a way to reprioritize some money.

“Rabbits were outfitted with nerve cuffs that stimulated their muscles while their feet were attached to pedals,” reported US News. “Following exercise, some of the animals were stroked by a machine imitating Swedish massages — either immediately after exercise or following a delay — and another group was not given massages. Researchers determined rabbits that received 30-minute massages immediately after exercise recovered the fastest.”

Before you get too jealous of the rabbits, you should know that they were euthanized.

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