Burn Experiments on Mice a Waste of Time, Money, Lives

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2 min read

PETA has opposed experiments on animals from its earliest days because they’re not only cruel but also unscientific. A few weeks ago, we told you about a government report highlighting the irrelevance of cruel experiments on chimpanzees. Now, a momentous study published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) offers further proof that experiments on other animals don’t help humans. The report’s authors conclude that the results of sepsis and burn experiments on mice—like those performed at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB)—cannot be applied to human beings, so their use represents a massive waste of time, money, and lives.

Bitter Medicine Is Hard to Swallow

The groundbreaking PNAS study took 10 years to complete and involved 39 researchers from institutions across the continent, including Stanford University and Harvard Medical School. As The New York Times reports, those scientists “report stunning evidence that the mouse model has been totally misleading for at least three major killers—sepsis, burns and trauma. As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads. … [The study] helps explain why every one of nearly 150 drugs tested at huge expense in patients with sepsis has failed. The drug tests all were based on studies in mice. And mice, it turns out, have a disease that looks like sepsis in humans, but is very different from the human disease.” The researchers discovered the discrepancy after conducting humane, modern studies on cells from hundreds of human patients. Regarding the experiments on animals, the study’s lead author stated, “[Researchers] are so ingrained in trying to cure mice that they forget we are trying to cure humans.”

One of the forces behind the UTMB studies is Shriners International, which for years has funded cruel burn and sepsis experiments on mice, dogs, and other animals at UTMB and elsewhere and continues to do so even today. One UTMB experimenter, Daniel Traber, soaked up money for years in exchange for burning animals’ skin off. In one experiment uncovered by PETA, Traber torched mice with a Bunsen burner until more than 40 percent of their bodies were charred or forced them to inhale smoke—or both. The mice who survived this torture were finally killed.

What You Can Do

Please join PETA in urging Shriners International to pull its funding of these cruel and wasteful experiments in light of the damning new report of their fatal flaws.

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