Vivisector of the Month Presents the Frankenscience Award

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3 min read
Michael B. Hennessy
carleton / CC
Michael B. Hennessy

With Halloween this month and scary B movies certain to flood theatres (and the U.S. Postal Service via Netflix), we’re going to honor October’s worst vivisector with a special honor: the Frankenscience Award. We’ll serve up two “scientists” with horrendous records of drugging, isolating, and otherwise torturing animals and allow you, dear readers, the honor of telling us who makes you gag the most.

Michael B. Hennessy, a psychology professor at Wright State University, spends his time tormenting baby guinea pigs. With help from over $350 thousand in funding from taxpayer dollars, Hennessy has learned a lot about sickness and stress in laboratory animals, but he himself isn’t confident that the results can be safely extrapolated to humans.

Hennessy takes guinea pigs from their mothers when the newborns are less than 1 month old to observe the resulting “stress-induced sickness behavior.” To worsen things, the babies are injected with a behavior-altering substance to see how it affects them. They are forced to endure invasive surgeries, including having their heads cut open, tubes stuck inside, and various chemicals and agents injected into them—including E. Coli bacteria!

To make matters worse, even Hennessy himself sees the obvious problem with his methods—the fact that guinea pigs aren’t people. In a recent paper, he concludes that “caution is required in generalizing from studies of sickness in laboratory animals to depression in humans.”

Owen Floody
bucknell / CC
Owen Floody

Owen B. Floody, a psychology professor at Bucknell University, came to our attention after a concerned alumnus contacted us. We learned that Floody has spent more than 30 years performing deadly sexual and reproductive studies … on hamsters.

Floody starts with healthy female hamsters, carves into their skulls, damages their brains, and then examines how this affects their sexual behavior. To assess this, he drops them in a box with a male hamster or “manually stimulates” them (you don’t want to know). At the end of this bizarre ordeal, the animals are killed and their brains are dissected.

Floody even gets his students involved in these experiments, allowing undergraduate students in his physiological psychology course to help with this torture. PETA has already expressed its concerns to Bucknell, and you can chime in to help end these experiments by clicking here.

What’ll it be? The Wright State professor who grasps the underlying problem with vivisection but does it anyway? Or the Bucknell professor who “manually stimulates” then kills female hamsters? Leave a comment to let me know!

Written by Sean Conner

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