The Untold Stories of Hamsters in UK Laboratories

Posted by on April 19, 2024 | Permalink

In quiet corners of laboratories across the UK, horrors unfold. Out of the public eye, experimenters torment and kill golden hamsters, also known as Syrian hamsters. Did you know that thousands of these gentle animals may be being used in cruel tests right now?

Made to Suffer From Diarrhoea and Killed

In one study on Clostridium difficile, a superbug that causes severe diarrhoea, sensitive hamsters were deliberately infected with this dangerous bacteria. As the infection took hold, these gentle animals suffered from hypothermia, weight loss, and debilitating diarrhoea. In the grip of the illness, they struggled to reach food and water, and their bodies were ravaged by inflammation. Many died within 96 hours. But this cruelty is just the tip of the iceberg.

Deliberately Infected With Ticks

In another laboratory, hamsters were purposefully infested with ticks carrying a virus that induces a haemorrhagic fever in humans. The hamsters suffered from weight loss, lethargy, neurological distress, and loss of reflexes, and their bodies were riddled with pain and wracked by tremors.

Forced to Inhale Substances – Then Killed

But the horror doesn’t end there. There is a testing facility licensed to use up to 7,000 hamsters, who may be subjected to injections, forced ingestion of substances, and prolonged inhalation of agents. Months stretch into years – some studies extend to two years of agony, culminating in the development of tumours. After months of torment, experimenters are likely to kill the animals and discard them as if they were nothing more than used laboratory equipment.

Holes Bored in Hamsters’ Skulls

The Home Office also granted licences that allowed experimenters to bore holes in hamsters’ skulls and then cover them with glass windows to monitor the blood flow in their brain. The animals may be injected with drugs, infected with viruses like COVID-19, and subjected to relentless behavioural tests.

Used for Superovulation Tests and Killed

Experimenters were authorised to use up to 200 Syrian hamsters for the harrowing ordeal of superovulation, a process that hijacks the reproductive cycle, inducing the production of an abundance of eggs. Their bodies were manipulated, and they were killed.

Speciesism Is the Root Cause of Abuse

Hamsters are gentle animals who have a remarkable sense of smell and a strong memory. They recognise their guardians and are aware of who spends the most time with them. Each animal used in cruel tests was an individual who didn’t want to die. They endured excruciating pain and anguish.

Bad Science

Humans and hamsters are biologically, metabolically, and physically different. Testing on animals is not only cruel but also bad science that can hold us back from making scientific breakthroughs.

The world’s forward-thinking scientists are developing and using non-animal methods that are actually relevant to human health for studying diseases and testing products.

These modern methods include sophisticated tests using human cells and tissues (also known as in vitro methods), advanced computer-modelling techniques (often referred to as in silico models), and studies with human volunteers. These and other non-animal methods are not hindered by species differences that make it difficult – if not impossible – to apply the results to humans, and they usually take less time and money to complete.

What You Can Do

Please urge your MP to support an end to all experiments on animals now: