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Animal Suffering in Laboratories: A Failure to Care

Posted by at 1:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)


Animal Suffering In Laboratories: A Failure To Care by Guest Blogger

Animal experimenters from Canada’s McGill University recently determined that mice-like humans and other mammals-make grimacing facial expressions when they are in pain. For the study, the ill-fated mice were videotaped after experimenters injected noxious chemicals into their abdomens, ankles, hands, and feet; placed them on hot plates; placed their tails in hot water; clamped metal binder clips on the tips of their tails; and performed various surgeries on them without administering any pain relief.

The results of the new study should bolster the argument that these animals suffer just as we do and should not be treated like disposable laboratory equipment. Instead, the authors are ignoring the moral implications of their findings and will instead use the results as fodder for more dreadful pain experiments on animals. This is like subjecting a person to surgery without anesthesia just to pave the way for further surgeries with anesthesia. There’s simply no good reason for it.

Mice and rats are mammals with nervous systems similar to our own. It’s no secret that they feel pain, fear, loneliness, and joy just as we do. These highly social animals communicate with each other using high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to the human ear. They become emotionally attached to each other, love their families, and easily bond with human guardians. Male mice woo mates with high-pitched love songs. Infant rats giggle when they are tickled. Not only do rats express empathy when another rat or a human they know is in distress, they also exhibit altruism, putting themselves in harm’s way rather than allowing another living being to suffer.

Unfortunately, we need look no further than U.S. animal protection laws to see that, to the great misfortune of mice, moral consistency is not one of modern science’s strong suits. More than 100 million mice and rats are killed in U.S. laboratories each year. But even though these animals feel pain and suffer as much as dogs, cats, and rabbits do, they are excluded from the meager federal Animal Welfare Act provisions that extend at least some protection to these other species. Forced to live lives of extreme deprivation in barren shoebox-size cages in laboratories, mice and rats are burned, cut open, shocked, poisoned, socially isolated, starved, dehydrated, forcibly restrained, addicted to drugs, and brain-damaged.

Experimenters don’t even have to provide mice and rats with pain relief because they are not covered by the law. While experimenters who use guinea pigs must provide them with pain relief and must at least show that they’ve looked for modern alternatives to the use of animals, experimenters don’t even have to count the mice and rats they kill. Some estimates indicate that as many as 800 U.S. laboratories aren’t subject to federal laws and inspections because they experiment exclusively on mice, rats, and other animals whose use is unregulated.

It would be nice to think that experimenters are providing analgesics anyway. But a 2009 survey by researchers at Newcastle University found that mice and rats who underwent painful, invasive procedures such as skull surgeries, burn experiments, and spinal surgeries were provided with post-procedural pain relief only about 20 percent of the time.

Why is it that the majority of experimenters conducting such cruel procedures on mice and rats fail to provide pain relief? Given our extensive scientific knowledge-and common-sense understanding-about the ability of mice and rats to feel pain, it is clear that the problem in laboratories is not a failure to anticipate or detect pain. It’s simply a failure to care.

This guest post was written by Alka Chandna. Alka is a laboratory oversight specialist for PETA. Learn more at StopAnimalTests.com.

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16 Comments

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    Bernice White says...

    June 10th, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Please stop , and let them- the animals be freed from any harm….

    Janice says...

    June 10th, 2010, 3:45 pm

    I am currently campaigning against animal experiments in Huntingdon. The exploitation and torture of animals, on an industrial scale, in every facet of life, from laboratories, to farms, circuses, zoos, etc, is so difficult to comprehend and I find it quite disheartening that so many people find this acceptable.

    However, even though these practices have been on-going for many years, I do believe that this abuse will come to an end.

    The key is to contnue to inform as many people as possible and to offer them animal-friendly alternatives. PETA is already doing this, but those of us on the ground need to be doing it more! We all need to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’ and not be disheartened.

    Ann Green says...

    June 10th, 2010, 5:34 pm

    Maybe if these experiments were to be done on the people administering them, they’d have much more compassion for these living creatures that God so put on this earth and provide pain relief for them.

    I for one, DO NOT believe in animal experimentation! God did not put these animals here for us to abuse. I’m sure glad I don’t have to answer to Him about this when my day comes. I feel sorry for the ones that do.

    Deb Anderson says...

    June 10th, 2010, 5:44 pm

    I am a volunteer animal rescue, and I cannot beilive the way some people treat animals , it is about time that they learned ANIMALS are supposed to be our friends weather they have feathers , gills, fur or what ever skin they have they have feelings too, they hurt just like we do this needs to stop I see too much of this on a daily basis I am truly discussed.

    Kathleen Michaels says...

    June 10th, 2010, 7:20 pm

    Stop Animal testing. This is the 20th century and new non-animal tests are out there. Check out some books at the library to see all the new one available.

    How can the lab people do those things and still sleep at night. A job isn’t that important.

    Please stop this horror now. Even if one of you stops, I’ll be ever so grateful.

    Elgrit B. Russell says...

    June 10th, 2010, 8:34 pm

    How on earth can any human foolishly believe that animals, which are living beings, do not feel pain, joy, sorrow. fear. etc? They have blood and muscles and nervous systems and bones like humans – why should they not feel these things? And why is it that our government which i have lost total respect for does not regulate pain IN ALL SPECIES OF ANIMALS. This allows many companies to use those animals that are not included in the laws and this is just downright wrong. We must find a way to get the government to pass laws, and enforce them, to protect all animals everywhere.

    Lillian Ingria says...

    June 11th, 2010, 4:05 pm

    I cannot believe you are still engaging in such horrible action. The people that actually do this work for the you should be castrated. And you are permitting this to go on. Is this the Land of Latter Day Saints; is this how you practice your faith. If the terriorists had to be horrible, it is your laboratory that should have been eliminated for such evil acts that you perform on helpless creatures. These sheltered animals have a horrible fate; instead of a second chance in a loving home, they end up in your laboratory. Many Many Many companies have stopped animal testing; don’t tell me in Latter Day Saints territory, you don’t have the means to do the same and change your methods. Shame on you. It is very hard to be polite when you are dealing with such unhuman individuals that allow and enjoy this type of torture and abuse. You are not any better than one who abuses a child, woman or another person, the elderly. These animals are helpless and cannot even try and get away from you. I have an adopted dog froma shelter. It is a good thing that she did not live in your area.

    valda purvis says...

    June 12th, 2010, 9:17 am

    The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral signifigance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity,universal compassion is the o
    nly gaurantee of morality [Arthur Schopenhaur ]german philosopher.
    Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge,it does so at the expence of human character.[George Bernard Shaw.]
    In the 1960′s Thalidomide tested on mice showed no problems,thousands of babies were born with horrendous birth defects,such as missing limbs.,partisipating animals live in hell.

    Anne Simpkins says...

    June 12th, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Does anyone understand that the so called…”Laboratory Vivisectionists” are a sick-evil-depraved type of people that get a thrill out of inflicting pain? Who get a sexual excitement that only comes when they can cut-kick-twist-hit a living person or animal and then watch them suffer.

    I should know. Each one is smart enough to know exactly what they do and they love every minute. There are a lot out there and are the lowest of the low and drastic measures are needed. Making animal testing illegal, with heavy penalities, is the only solution.

    John Lambert says...

    June 20th, 2010, 6:03 pm

    Vivisectionists are evil sociopaths who enjoy torturing animals. As simple as that.
    They know that there is something wrong with them, they know that most people would want them to be severely punished if they saw what they did to animals every day. They are sick individuals who are given free reign to get away with their crimes every day, as long as the public are too stupid and afraid to question whether vivisection actually works. It does not. 92% of all drugs which pass animal experiments, FAIL human experiments (AKA ‘clinical trials). If animal experiments predicted human outcomes, there would be no need for clinical trials (human experiments), because all drugs could go straight onto the human market. We only know which animal was a good model for humans AFTER human experiments have been done – in other words, the animals which the drug failed in, are ignored, but only AFTER the fact…
    The sort of people who enjoy torturing animals are also the sort of people who knowingly engage in fraudulent research, who let dangerous drugs onto the human market, in spite of their own studies showing dangerous side effects. These people have no conscience, whether for animals or humans.

    Jae Blythe says...

    June 21st, 2010, 2:30 pm

    I am 73 years old and as a nurse, have been fighting against these evils as long as I can remember…..there is very little, or no, ‘carryover’ that any of these heartless experiments would have in helping any human. The terrible tragedy is that these experiments continue, usually funded by OUR tax dollars, and to incompetent ‘doctors’ who are unable to relate to, or treat, people. They are despicable and deserve to be imprisoned. So many people have become desensitized to cruelty and see nothing wrong with any of this. The only good side is that folks like you in the younger generation are rising to the occasion, and fighting back and trying to help. I don’t have much time left, but PLEASE do not be disheartened and please realize that YOU CAN make a difference – picket with signs, call/write your Senators (Senator Nelson here in Florida always answers his mail and is compassionate), keep writing, calling and joining organizations (Peta, PCRM,etc.) that do make difference…God bless you all, and thank you for renewing my faith in the younger generation.

    Rocco Sirico says...

    June 22nd, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Im against any kind of animal being used for experiments in labs to test products sold anywere in the world. Why don’t they use the people on death row in prison to do experiments on.

    Janette St Pierre says...

    July 1st, 2010, 2:38 pm

    “THE GREATNESS OF A NATION AND ITS MORAL PROGRESS CAN BE JUDGED BY THE WAY IT TREATS ITS ANIMALS”. – M. GANDHI
    Wake up People!!!
    How can anyone possibly torture an innocent animal that is screaming in pain (in the name of science???) There are alternative non-animal testing! Are these people animal abusers that have the fear of jail, so they are attracted to these jobs??
    These sweet creatures feel pain, fear, and lonliness as we do!!
    When mankind treats all living beings as he wants to be treated, that is when we will have World Peace.
    I love our planet but cannot be at peace knowing our sweet animals are being abused every minute of every hour, it breaks my heart.
    PLEASE STOP!!!!!!! TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Big G, says...

    July 23rd, 2010, 3:06 pm

    This is the year 2010 not the stone ages time to stop this insanity do people honestly believe that animals don’t have feelings. Spend time with then and you will come to learn they are very special and should not be abused.

    Leslie Hathaway says...

    July 23rd, 2010, 8:47 pm

    I am horrified to know that these poor rats and mice are not being sedated or put to sleep before being operated on. How dare anyone do that to an animal. They have no defense as they are being tortured and crying inside. How could anyone live with themselves after doing such a criminal act. And to know that this goes on everyday drives me crazy. I love animals of all kinds and it hurts me to know that everyday they are being tortured in labs, on farms, in homes, etc. It must be stopped immediately. I can’t imagine anyone who is smart enough to perform surgery on an animal wouldn’t have more integrity and compassion. Where is their human decency? I have three beautiful guinea pigs and I know just how sensitive they are. I feel very sad for the rats and mice. It the same thing as the fur farms in China. Those poor animals are skinned alive and the people doing it don’t care that the animal is screaming in pain and horror. We need to become more evolved immediately. There is no excuse for not giving the animal pain relief before torturing it.

    parisa says...

    April 10th, 2014, 2:51 pm

    so sad sad story. I couldnt stop crying. shame on us to do such things to animals and those who see this and stay silent. they have feelings & can suffere. i doubt we can call them as “human”…

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