Rats Cut Open, Their Intestines Punctured for Cruel Experiments
In a cruel, useless procedure to investigate human sepsis, experimenters anaesthetise rats, mice, and other animals, then cut open their abdomens and puncture and squeeze their intestines to make faecal matter and bacteria leak out.
Afterwards, the rats are sewn back up and regain consciousness. Subsequently, they experience horrific symptoms such as crippling pain, multiple organ failure, and hypothermia. Eventually, all of them die.
This procedure – called caecal ligation and puncture – is widely used across the UK. It’s possible that hundreds of animals go through this horror every year right on our doorstep.
Who’s Doing This?
British universities including the University of Birmingham and Queen Mary University of London are still conducting sepsis experiments on animals.
At Queen Mary University of London, experimenters were authorised to conduct caecal ligation and puncture procedures on – or inject inflammatory toxins into the abdomens of – more than 6,000 mice.
At the University of Birmingham, experimenters were authorised to force tubing down into the windpipes of 750 mice to inject a toxin called lipopolysaccharide into their lungs. Experimenters were also permitted to perform caecal ligation and puncture on 500 mice.
PETA is contacting the universities with detailed information about the futility of these experiments and urging them to move towards superior, non-animal methods that are relevant to sepsis in humans.
Experimenting on Animals Is Bad Science
Numerous scientific reviews demonstrate that caecal ligation and puncture is a deeply flawed procedure and irrelevant to finding cures for sepsis in humans.
In 2013, a landmark, decade-long study involving dozens of researchers from institutions across the US found that the results of sepsis experiments on mice can never be applied to humans. Why? It’s simple: the respective genetic responses to sepsis in the two species are completely different.
The study was so groundbreaking that Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health – the world’s biggest public funder of biomedical experiments – wrote this:
He noted that 150 drugs successfully treated sepsis in mice but that all of them later failed in human clinical trials.
He called this disaster “a heartbreaking loss of decades of research and billions of dollars”.
Effective Sepsis Research
Luckily for humans and rats alike, there are revolutionary non-animal testing methods available around the world – which are not only more ethical but also effective in helping us understand how sepsis affects humans.
Cardiff University is working on Project Sepsis, which uses human data to develop computer-based methods for deciphering how humans can become infected and to identify effective treatments.
There’s also the University of Oxford’s decade-long Genomic Advances in Sepsis (GAinS) study, which more than 2,300 human patients have enrolled in. The study is working to uncover how the “structure and function of our genes can be used to inform our understanding of sepsis and, in the longer term lead to the development of new, effective treatments”.
Researchers have already made a number of important human-specific mechanistic discoveries that have been reported in the scientific literature.
What You Can Do
It’s not just sepsis experiments that fail humans and other animals: 90% of “highly promising” basic research findings, most of which involve tests on animals, fail to become routinely used treatments within 20 years.
Animals aren’t test tubes. Use your voice to encourage the government to create a clear strategy for replacing animals in experiments. Sign our petition to support PETA’s Research Modernisation Deal. Lives of all species – ours included – depend on it.