A Mouse Caught Fire During an Experiment at Baylor College of Medicine

Published by Keith Brown.

Gruesome horrors have piled up inside Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) laboratories, where unqualified staffers bumble through experimental procedures and where callousness and indifference to animal suffering reign. Mice were fatally scalded after their cage was sent through a high-temperature, mechanical cage washer while they were still inside it. Baby mice limped in pain after experimenters cut off their toes without providing pain medication. A mouse was severely burned while she was undergoing an experimental surgery and a tool used by the experimenters ignited a fire. Mice were left with gaping wounds after invasive surgeries and were denied adequate pain relief. Experimenters surgically manufactured conjoined twins sharing a single circulatory system by cutting open and stitching together pairs of mice.

After obtaining federal reports documenting a jarring 92 federal animal welfare violations in BCM’s laboratories between February 2019 and August 2022, PETA is demanding that BCM brass—in our third complaint since September 2019—end the school’s runaway horror show by holding experimenters accountable for the pain and suffering that they cause and by barring their access to animals.

Unchecked Agony at Baylor

Federal reports show that BCM experimenters failed to give adequate pain relief to more than 570 animals on 22 separate occasions. The incidents include the following:

  • The toes of 20 baby mice were amputated, but the animals did not receive any pain medication.
  • Seventy-eight mice underwent surgery to implant devices in their skulls but received only half the pain medication that they were supposed to get.
  • Four mice were subjected to an invasive cardiac procedure but received no pain medication for six days afterward.
  • Twelve mice were castrated, and two died when they were not given the prescribed three-day regimen of pain medication.

Rules? What Rules?

Federal reports show that BCM’s experimenters have conducted horrendous procedures that had not been approved, in violation of federal regulations, so often that it seems “going rogue” is standard practice at the school. These are some examples:

  • Experimenters amputated the ends of mice’s tails, killed mice by breaking their necks, and amputated mice’s toes without pain medication—all in breach of rules.
  • Five pairs of mice who were stitched together in an experiment were subjected to risky and complicated separation surgery without appropriate oversight.
  • Substances other than those approved for a procedure were injected into 342 mice or administered through gavage tubes thrust down their throats.
  • Blood was drawn from an artery behind a mouse’s eye, and then her eye was removed—all without anesthetics—in unapproved procedures. She died.

Expired Medication, Widespread Incompetence

BCM’s staff can’t even be trusted to give animals food and water. Federal records show that one mouse died after he was left without food and water following skull surgery. Other examples of BCM’s incompetence include the following:

  • An expired anesthetic was given to 286 mice before a procedure akin to embalming in humans, in which a chemical solution is injected into an animal’s vascular system to replace the blood.
  • A piglet who was subjected to surgery suffered from a rupture of the small intestine because of incompetently spaced stitches.
  • An experimenter who killed four mice was not approved to perform the procedure.

BCM raked in more than $364 million in taxpayer money last year. About half of that underwrites the animal experimentation that the school is clearly incapable of conducting or unwilling to conduct in compliance with basic minimum animal welfare regulations and guidelines. Its morally bankrupt practices cause grotesque and almost unimaginable pain to animals. It’s time that BCM got out of the animal torture business and into the business of improving human health by adopting non-animal, human-relevant research methods.

What You Can Do

Join thousands of PETA supporters who have already called on Congress to stop throwing away taxpayer money on cruel, useless animal experiments and instead focus on modern, non-animal research methods.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind