The use of fish as a substitute for mammals in laboratories has skyrocketed into the millions. Little research has been done on the effects of anesthetics that are used on fish during surgical procedures and euthanasia. This study tested nine anesthetics on Danio zebrafish for reactions that indicated discomfort, distress or pain. Seven of the anesthetics, including two of the most widely used, caused aversive reactions. The authors conclude that they are inhumane, and should be discontinued. They also call for similar tests for other types of fish, since reactions can vary from species to species.
In 1999, a law against depictions of animal cruelty was enacted to criminalize fetish videos of women trampling small animals to death ("crush videos"). When it was applied in a case of dog-fighting videos (U.S. v. Stevens), the law was struck down for being overly broad, and a narrower law was enacted. The author analyzes underlying legal issues, especially whether animal protection can override free speech rights. Since the new law specifies a state interest in extreme cases of animal cruelty, the author argues that animal protection law was ultimately advanced due to the Stevens case, even though the conviction was thrown out.
This article discusses the evolution of cultural images of rodents from bearers of disease, to companion animals, to "equipment" for the eradication of human disease. The author focuses in particular on the language and imagery used to market specially bred rats and mice to researchers. She also explores ways in which rodents used in experiments lose their status as "animals," and as representatives of a species, as well as their status as individuals, exempting them from empathies and protections that are extended to other species.
From 2006 to 2010, the author of this essay observed scientists and technicians working on animal and human tissues at stem cell laboratories in the United Kingdom. She gathered field notes and quotes from lab personnel expressing their assumptions, concepts, values, and practices about the use of human tissue in research laboratories. Despite regulatory and conceptual reframing that should result in a reduction of animal research, it is in fact increasing in the UK. The author concludes that research labs are culturally complex organizations with many interdependencies which create incentives to prefer animal experimentation, and/or disincentives for human tissue experimentation. These larger systems must be addressed and adjusted to produce a real-world reduction of animal experimentation.
This article discusses the practical aspects of complying with an EU Directive regulating cephalopod research that took effect in January 2013. To formulate guidelines for researchers, the authors reviewed cephalopod-related research from 2005-2011 that would be subject to the new Directive if it was being conducted now. Using case study examples, the authors discuss the application of required practices and considerations in a variety of scenarios, and encourage affected researchers to develop systems and policies to ensure their compliance.
This article presents an overview of benefits of and techniques to reduce the number of animals used in animal testing for medical purposes, to improve living and test conditions when animals are used, and to remove animals entirely from testing processes. In vitro experimentation, computer analysis and modeling, and the replacement of mammals with "lower," non-mammalian species, insects, and microorganisms are discussed. The authors conclude that utilization of these alternatives can reduce the number of animals used in animal testing while producing dependable results.
Growing Meat in Laboratories: The Promise, Ontology, and Ethical Boundary-Work of Using Muscle Cells to Make FoodSubmitted on Jan 15, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Advocacy Strategies | Animal Experimentation | Diet and Nutrition | Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection | Vegetarianism and Veganism
This philosophical essay discusses the ethical framework in which scientists and animal advocates regard current research into, and the potential development of, in vitro meat (IVM) production. The author incorporates quotes from interviews with 39 individuals who were scientists involved in IVM-related research or advocates who have supported IVM technology. While most interviewees awarded some degree of preferability to IVM production over current factory farming practices, their motivations for being involved in this area varied. The author concludes that ethical boundary-work concerning IVM production is complex and under development, as is the IVM research itself.
This study was conducted as part of a global campaign by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International on animal testing for cosmetics. A series of public opinion surveys were administered in several countries including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. The U.S. study—conducted with a nationwide sample of registered voters—showed that 67% of respondents oppose testing cosmetics on animals. The report presents findings (broken down by age and gender) on the level of awareness about cosmetics testing on animals, opposition to the practice, and safety concerns.
In this article, the author presents a firsthand account about the process of, and his conflicting feelings about, conducting animal experiments on cats to find a poison that can be used as a means of lethal feral cat control. The author’s story is presented in an effort to counter the belief that scientists are largely immune to having conflicting feelings about conducting research on animals.
This policy paper makes the case for a more ethical approach to life science education. The paper—focused on dissection at the pre-college level in American and Canadian contexts—presents an overview of the history of animal dissection and outlines its current state. The paper details the downside of dissection, points to available alternatives, and concludes with recommendations focused on dissection alternatives, student choice policies, and humane education.
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