Philosophy - Index
Testing - Index
New findings about animal experiments
December 29, 2004
A study says mice, rabbits, rats,
beagles and other animals all show more physiological stress to routine
laboratory procedures than previously known. Until now, experts had viewed such
stress as relatively benign.
The new findings by ethologist Jonathan Balcombe of the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine are published in Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal
The findings say a mouse which is picked up and briefly held experiences several
physiological reactions. As stress-response hormones flood the bloodstream, the
mouse exhibits a racing pulse and a spike in blood pressure.
In rats and mice, the growth of tumors is strongly influenced by how much the
animals are handled, the study says.
Until now, humane concerns focused mainly on the experiments themselves. The new
findings suggest that routine procedures, such as blood draws and use of stomach
tubes, are terrifying for animals.
"In essence, there is no such thing as a humane animal experiment," says
Balcombe. "Fear or panic ensues when the animal is touched or stuck with a
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