PETA Blasts Mizzou for Mutilation, ‘Weight Training’ Experiments on Rats

Group Also Calls On Scientific Journal to Pull Article Reporting Experiments

For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2019

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Columbia, Mo. – This morning, following a series of irrelevant and scientifically flawed experiments on young female rats by experimenters at the University of Missouri, PETA filed a complaint with the school’s vice president of research urging him to investigate and withdraw institutional support for the tests and to redirect resources into clinically relevant, human-based studies.

In the tests, experimenters cut incisions into rats’ heads, removed parts of their skulls, and injected an inflammatory compound into their brains. They were then forced to climb a 100-centimeter-long ladder with weights taped to their tails, subjected to a battery of fear-motivated memory tests, and ultimately killed. In the complaint letter, PETA points out that the purported aim of the tests—to determine whether resistance exercise training can mitigate cognitive deficits in rats—has already been achieved in multiple studies and reviews involving humans. In addition, the experimenters failed to provide information regarding the administration of pain medication and the use of humane killing methods, as is usually done in published papers.

“Cutting open animals’ heads and taping weights to their tails in order to show what we already know from human studies is wasteful and an insult to science,” says PETA veterinarian Dr. Ingrid Taylor. “PETA is calling on the University of Missouri to investigate and stop such cruel nonsense.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—has also sent a letter to the Journal of Applied Physiology, which published a paper outlining the experimenters’ findings, requesting that the article be retracted for failing to meet the journal’s stated standards relating to both animal welfare and relevance to animal and human health.

PETA’s letters to the university and journal are available upon request. The group opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.

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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