Until recently, rats were being used in cruel experiments to test—of all things—raspberries. The National Processed Raspberry Council (NPRC) and the Washington Red Raspberry Commission (WRRC) had been funding misguided experiments that looked at the effects of raspberries on everything from diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease to balance and coordination.
But following discussions with PETA, both groups have confirmed that they will no longer fund experiments on animals!
Older rats were forced to perform absurd and stressful tasks, including standing upright and walking while balancing on a rod and hanging from wires by their forelegs to keep from falling. They had to perform these tasks until they were too exhausted to continue. In other experiments, animals were made to become obese and diabetic.
PETA pointed out that these experiments are not only cruel but also bad science. The effects of obesity and the way in which glucose is regulated are very different in mice and rats compared to humans. And because of vastly different physiologies, any antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects of raspberries observed in experiments on animals most likely couldn’t be applied to humans.
There are human-relevant, non-animal methods to study the effects of raspberries on human health. We’re glad that the NPRC and WRRC have decided to fund those studies instead.