Taxpayer Money No Longer Funding Hamster “Fight Club”!

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

September 13, 2017 update: Victory! Records just obtained by PETA reveal that for the first time in more than 20 years, Northeastern University experimenter Richard Melloni isn’t receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to give anabolic steroids or cocaine to hamsters and make them fight. This follows PETA’s exposé, posted below in 2015, and thousands of emails from compassionate taxpayers who were furious that their dollars were paying for Melloni’s atrocities. After PETA went public with information about Melloni’s abuse of hamsters, Senator Jeff Flake lambasted the studies in his “Wastebook” of misused government funds. It appears the feds were listening and now the hamsters will be spared further torment in these cruel experiments!

Originally posted April 30, 2015:

It’s the animal-fighting ring that has gotten more than $3 million in taxpayer funding. In the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, experimenters led by Richard Melloni inject animals with anabolic-androgenic steroids and other aggression-promoting drugs and force them to fight each other. Since 1996, the experimenters have injected hundreds of animals with steroids, cocaine, and other substances, sometimes drilling into their skulls and injecting the drugs straight into their brains. Hamsters, beloved companions to many people, are their favorite target.

Hamster in a lab rodent©iStock.com/trgowanlock

After the drugged hamster becomes hyper-aggressive, experimenters put a hamster who has not  been injected with drugs into his cage, exploiting the animals’ natural tendencies to be solitary and territorial in order to force them to be aggressive in these contrived scenarios. Experimenters watch, videotape, and even “score” the ensuing fight, rating hamsters on how many times they bite, attack, lunge at, and trap the other animal. They then declare a “winner” and a “loser.”

Like a twisted NCAA-style basketball tournament, they force some of the animals to fight multiple times against different opponents as they advance with each “win.” They kill others and then dissect their brains. For these macabre animal-fighting experiments, the team received more than $306,000 in taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health in 2015 alone, and more than $3 million since 1996. Worse, these disturbing experiments appear to violate Massachusetts laws against cruelty to animals and animal fighting—and we’re asking authorities to take action.

You Can Help!

Although Melloni’s experiments are no longer funded by NIH, the agency is still funding many other painful, deadly, and useless experiments on animals. Please ask your congressional representatives to call on NIH to stop wasting taxpayer money on pointless animal experiments and to 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