U. of Houston’s Cruel Psych Experiments On Rats Questioned

PETA Calls On School's Animal Care Oversight Committee to Rescind Approval for Use of Rats in 'Learning Principles' Course

For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2016

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Houston – This morning, PETA requested that the University of Houston–Clear Lake’s (UHCL) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee review its approval of using rats in an archaic psychology class experiment in which the animals are starved and forced to push a lever in order to feed themselves. In its letter, PETA pointed out that UHCL’s Pearland campus offers the same course but uses interactive computer simulations and clicker-training sessions with adoptable animals at a local shelter rather than experiments on terrified animals.

According to course documents obtained by PETA, rats are deprived of food and forced into tiny plastic boxes where they are “trained” to press a lever to obtain food. A student whistleblower reported that the animals were distressed and cried out when they were handled by students. At the experiments’ conclusion, rats who aren’t taken home by students are returned to the university’s “breeding colony” or killed.

“If UH–Clear Lake’s Pearland campus can teach psychology without starving and tormenting rats, then the main campus can, too,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “The university’s animal care oversight committee claims that it seeks to replace animals with non-animal methods whenever possible. It’s possible now, and we urge the university to modernize its psychology course.”

Tens of thousands of concerned people have already sent e-mails to UHCL President William Staples asking him to end the use of rats in the course. Studies show that most psychology majors oppose mandatory animal laboratories. Numerous comparative studies have found that students taught with modern non-animal methods learn as well as or better than their peers who are forced to use animals.

PETA’s letter to the UHCL Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org or click here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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