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Experimenters Turn a Smile Upside Down

Written by PETA | May 10, 2010

A new study that will probably leave you grimacing in frustration finds that mice make facial expressions when they’re in pain.

We certainly didn’t need any more evidence that these small animals are more than test tubes with whiskers and are capable of feeling pain and suffering. And it makes me wince to think about the horrible things they did to mice to elicit expressions like squeezed eyes and bulging cheeks that indicate “key signs of pain.”

For the study, mice were videotaped as they suffered after experimenters injected different noxious chemicals into their abdomens, ankles and paws, placed them on hotplates, placed their tails in hot water, put metal binder clips on the tips of their tails, and performed various surgeries on them without administering pain relief after the operations.

While, if anything, the results should bolster the argument that these sensitive, intelligent animals suffer like we do and should not be used in experiments, it appears that the self-interested authors of the study instead want to use the results to create a “pain scale” that can be used as a measuring tool for, you guessed it, more pain experiments on mice.


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World Science reports that the study’s authors declined its request to republish photos from the study, for fear of “the inflammatory effect such pictures might have on animal rights activists.” Gee, ya think? Luckily, WIRED published the heartbreaking photos here.

I hope this story inflames you enough to write to your Congressperson and urge him or her to support an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act to extend legal protections to the 100 million mice and rats who are languishing in U.S. laboratories and who currently receive absolutely no protection under the law.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • maureen says:

    Dear Kalama. It has been awhile since I wroteI have a study for you to research there is a man named Billy Joe Gregg he is associated with Conklin Farms in Ohiohe now has 12 charges against him for animal abuse you may look up his name or the farm in which he worked to get a better understanding of what he has done.In his plight of misery against animals he certainly is a dysfunctional morbid case of human life formhe is in need of an evaluation and I thought of non other than you to research his fascination in abusing animals in his video you will see him tethering cows and beating them senseless until they bleedstomping new born calfs in the head along with throwing them to the ground and punching themand then to pithchfork their mothers in the utters. My point to you isthese animals also feel the pain inflicted on them by their captorsyou can hear it in their voices and they cry in pain and try to shake their heads to let Billy Joe know they had enoughbut enough was not enough for billy joe. Now point in questionYou did not need to study the faces of these animals to tell they were in painmaybe there is significant research you can study to see all animals feel painincluding forced painyou may also want to research Billy joe and his addiction to force pain on his captives to get an end result. Researching him would be more justifiable in aiding research of why people get gratification in abusing animals than to use abuse as a study. I hope you take the time to view the video and take something like this to research that myself and most of the world would like to know why people do this sort of morbid abuse. He like you wants a name for himselfhe wants to become a police officer a pillar of the community and my only reaction is ” if this is how he treats animals just think of how he will treat people”.I hope you would drop your “turn a smile upside down research” and do something of real importance figuring out what part of the brain intices one to commit such barbaric acts. Of course this research requires human animals.

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    “again as far as experimental data and experimental models goes computer simulation and computer modeling will be sufficient” I asked you “why” you thought the models were complete not for you to repeat that you thought they were sufficient. The simple fact that you believe that PC modeling is sufficient to learn the rest of biology clearly shows just how little you know. PC models must be based on facts and we don’t have them all. Thus we need more empirical facts to complete our models. Books don’t have enough. fMRIs don’t have enough detail etc. End of story. “there already exist nonanimal methods in biological research.” I know most of these methods and have used many of them. I know their strengths and limitations. Do you? No combination of currently existing nonanimal methods is sufficient to map the frontiers of human biology with any degree of efficiency. Undoubtedly this will not be the case in the futurehowever I don’t anticipate sufficient advances in my lifetime or that of my children to make your ideals reality.

  • ocean17 says:

    you are making unreasonable assumptions and narrowly defining what a biological model is or is not. “Where do you think that knowledge came from? It didn’t originally come from a model right?” one more time simple from preexisting knowledge and research. as i said before medical textbooks illustrations MRIS images and other noninvasive imaging technology autopsies and postmortem studies. you can’t be serious.. in this case the mice were subjected to various degrees of barbaric and sadistic torture only to create a pain scale. of absolutely no use to study human anatomy and human pain pathways. “What makes you think the current models are complete? ” again as far as experimental data and experimental models goes computer simulation and computer modeling will be sufficient in fact necessary. there already exist nonanimal methods in biological research.

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    Hey ocean I suggest you read the source you copied considering it strongly agrees with my stance. That biological models can not currently be “true” representation of biological system and that they are only good for looking at specific aspects of a system Here are the simplest quotes from your source I found demonstrating this fact “Biologists models are highly idealized. Thus biological systems will rarely satisfy the equations or descriptions and hence are not themselves models.” In other words biological systems almost never behave as predicted. “We have seen how the equations and descriptions describing our models are not literally true of the target systems of interest.” Same point. At best models are only decent at predicting what they were designed to predict which is usually something VERY specific. httplegacy.lclark.edujayModels20in20Biology4.pdf

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    ocean17 …”it means A IDEALIZED REPRESENTATION of EMPIRICAL SYSTEMS.” Here you say a model is based on empirical data. So how exactly does one make a PREDICTIVE model if they don’t have or completely understand the empirical data? No data from a model based on incomplete data can accurately predict anything. If you do find a new phenomenon then you need to confirm it empirically to prove the model was correct. That’s my entire point and you don’t seem to get it. There are no models accurate enough to predict unknown aspects of the biology of human pain. “For example an evolutionary biologist might model natural selection INDEPEDENT OF OTHER EVOLUTIONARY FORCES like random genetic drift..” So this model could never accurately predict aspects of evolution that are affected by random genetic drift…again this is my point. If the model is not complete it is not predictive for unknown phenomena. “so how does one obtain andor formulate these abstract and idealized models? SIMPLE FROM PREEXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND RESEARCH. as i said before” Where do you think that knowledge came from? It didn’t originally come from a model right? At best some aspects could have been predicted by model but not confirmed until tested empirically. Let’s say I have a model that is programmed to predict how fast an object falls based solely on knowledge of acceleration due to gravity. At first it might work really well if I’m testing dense heavy objectsbut the second I test a paper plane the model fails terribly. Since the model didn’t account for wind resistance it predicted incorrectly for some of the empirically tested objects. So I add wind resistance to my model but it fails to predict how fast a helium balloon will fall. Why? Because it didn’t take the effect of density into account. So I add this to my modelwill it be 100 accurate? Probably not. It’s still missing tons of pieces…just like EVERY SINGLE HUMAN NEUROANATOMICALFUNCTIONAL MODEL currently in existence. What makes you think the current models are complete? What makes you think I can use and prove unknown things based on incomplete models? Why did you ignore my request for a model that can be used to predict how electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves affects the organization of synapses in the spinal cord and predicts whether therapeutic neuropathic pain relief would occur? Possibly because no such model exists?

  • ocean17 says:

    “None of your examples were models suitable for studying the yet unknown neurobiology of human pain in detail.” wrong like i said you pretending not to understand simple ideas and concepts is quite insane. and your definition for biological model is quite skewed quite flawed and deficient. doesn’t surprise me your hollowheaded ad hocpost hoc unbelievably dense strawmen only goes to show that you don’t even know the merest bit about the scientific method mathematical models and yes commonsense and morals. a model is a representation of something often idealised or modified to make it conceptually easier to understand. source httpwww.biologyonline.orgdictionaryModel Biologists use the term model in several different ways however most often it means a idealized representation of empirical systems. For example an evolutionary biologist might model natural selection independent of other evolutionary forces like random genetic drift.. source httplegacy.lclark.edujayModels20in20Biology4.pdf so how does one obtain andor formulate these abstract and idealized models? simple from preexisting knowledge and research. as i said before medical textbooks illustrations MRIS images and other noninvasive imaging technology autopsies and postmortem studies. you can’t be serious..

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    ocean17 None of your examples were models suitable for studying the yet unknown neurobiology of human pain in detail. Medical Textbooks contain only information that is already known you can’t test new theories by consulting a medical textbookonly read the accumulated body of knowledge which as you should know is nowhere near complete. Saying you can do research with a medical textbook is like saying Einstein could test and prove relativity using an elementary school physics book. MRIs and other noninvasive imaging are not models. MRIs can give you a picture of gross anatomy you can’t even see individual neurons with MRI. fMRIs can detect changes in brain blood oxygenation but with pathetic spatiotemporal resolution that doesn’t even correlate with neural activity in any concrete manner allinall this means you can’t use MRI to learn the detailed anatomy or function of pain systemsonly get a rough idea of where some big chunks of the brain that respond to pain are. Autopsies postmortem studies useless for anything other than comparing normal to diseased nervous systemsyou can determine a beginning normal point and an end point diseasedbut this won’t tell you why or how the state came to be. Let’s give you a more specific task this time give me an example of how you could determine the effect of peripheral nerve field stimulation on the biochemistry and organization of painrelated synapses in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord.