University of Washington Urged to Nix Cruel PTSD Cage-Fight Tests on Mice

PETA Calls On University President to Stop Painful, Scientifically Flawed Experiments From Proceeding

For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2019

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Seattle – Acting on a report from a concerned individual, PETA sent a letter this morning urging the president of the University of Washington (UW) to stop planned tests in which post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would be induced in mice from going forward and to redirect resources to superior, human-focused research instead. In the letter, PETA points out that the tests in question would subject mice to unmitigated pain and distress and argues that they were reportedly approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee on April 18 without appropriate consideration of the serious animal-welfare concerns involved.

In the tests, experimenters intend to torment mice in order to induce PTSD before orchestrating cage fights in which they’d be pitted against mice who are more docile. Common methods for inducing PTSD include socially isolating mice, restraining them for up to hours at a time and administering painful foot shocks, and exposing the animals to predators or the scent of predators.

The cage fights will reportedly be repeated 12 to 20 times a day for 12 consecutive days. The lead experimenter reportedly stated that no pain relief would be administered to mice who are injured in the attacks, claiming that this might alter the results of the experiment.

“Small, vulnerable mice are in danger of being mentally and physically tormented in these horrific, curiosity-based tests that will do absolutely nothing to help humans suffering from PTSD,” says PETA Vice President Alka Chandna, Ph.D. “PETA is urging the University of Washington not to carry out these tests and to conduct exclusively human-relevant, non-animal research.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that in 2018, UW received more than $455 million in taxpayer-funded grants from the National Institutes of Health, approximately half of which were directed toward experiments on animals.

Records reveal that in 2017, UW used 47 dogs, 172 cats, 311 rabbits, and 174 pigs in experiments and that the school has received multiple citations for serious violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Mice are excluded from the AWA, the only federal law with legally enforceable minimum standards for the care and use of animals in experimentation.

PETA’s letter to UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Ph.D., is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org and click here.

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