It’s time once again for my favorite PETA Files feature: our Vivisector of the Month contest. Each and every month, I read up on two of our nation’s most vile vivisectors and let you, our dear readers, decide who is the worst by voting.
Let me begin by recognizing Marina Picciotto, whose primate addiction studies and mouse torture won her the undesirable title of Most Vile Vivisector last month. Her competitor was much-derided Allyson Bennett. Congrats, Marina—I’m certain Yale and all of New Haven are glad to have you!
This month, we have another two truly bizarre candidates … just see for yourself.
David Gozal of the Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Louisville has a bit of a problem. He is fascinated by erections—mouse erections, to be exact. He passes his days in the lab getting up close and very personal with little boy-mice, studying their erections and even severing their spinal cords so that they cannot move while experimenters observe their penises.
In his most recent study, “Erectile Dysfunction in a Murine [Mouse] Model of Sleep Apnea,” which was funded in part by the federal government, Gozal measured the number of erections and ejaculations in dozens of mice after placing them in a chamber to deprive them of oxygen. Some mice were also given tadalafil, an erectile dysfunction drug. They were then killed by puncturing their hearts with a needle, and their testicles and penises were cut out of their bodies for examination. Gozal concluded that oxygen deprivation makes it more difficult to get an erection and that tadalafil, which is already prescribed (as “Cialis”) for humans with erectile dysfunction, works in mice.
Daniel Traber of the University of Texas Medical Branch Department of Anesthesiology has made a living for almost three decades by burning animals’ skin off. In a recent experiment, he either torched mice with a Bunsen burner until more than 40 percent of their bodies was charred or forced them to inhale smoke. A few select mice got the full treatment—they were both burned and forced to inhale smoke. Some died during the experiment, and survivors were subsequently killed.
In another study, Traber heated an aluminum bar to nearly 400 degrees with a Bunsen burner and roasted the skin of live pigs on it for 30 seconds, creating a series of deep burns that covered 15 percent of their bodies. In order to repair the deliberately injured animals, Traber and colleagues then removed skin from the pigs’ legs to graft over the areas that had been burned off. After living through all this torture, the pigs were killed. Again, this is only his most recent work—Traber has been burning, mutilating, and killing sheep for years.
Who should win? The Children’s Hospital Vivisector or the Bunsen Burninator? As always, let me help you decide by posing a question: Would you rather be molested, stabbed in the heart, and have your genitals torn out, or would you rather be roasted alive over a Bunsen burner, forced to inhale the smell of your burning flesh, and then killed?