Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Chinese New Year holds little promise for the Rat

Posted: 6 February 2008


The new 12 year cycle for Chinese New Year begins with the Year of the Rat on Thursday, 7th. The so-called Rat Year is said to provide opportunities for a promising new start in any area of anyone’s life, but not for the millions of rats in the UK and Europe who are destined to die in experiments.

In the East, the rat is revered for its quick wit and considered a symbol of good luck and wealth in both China and Japan. Clever with good powers of observation, the Rat of the Chinese Zodiac is noted for having the best intellect of all the animals.

However, rats are not so revered in Europe, where over 2.3 million a year are used in experiments.

The UK stands out as a major user of over 400,000 rats a year in research out of a total of over 3 million animal experiments. The rats are used in biological research, medicine dentistry veterinary medicine, education, training direct diagnosis and breeding. Of these, 130,000 rats are used for toxicology and 270,000 for cancer research, molecular biology, nutrition, zoology and botany. Over 32,000 rats were genetically modified in 2006.

ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer said: “The more people know about animal experiments, the less they support them. Real rats like their Chinese calendar counterparts are quick-witted and intelligent. Yet they are forced to live in deplorable conditions and suffer terribly. Let’s use the Chinese New Year to spare a thought for these much maligned creatures. Our message for Chinese New Year is that lab animal research is both cruel and bad science. There are far better ways of undertaking research using the latest technology and sophisticated techniques which are of direct relevance to people.”

Exposed - the full horror of rat experiments
Experiments on rats have been revealed to be some of the most cruel and unnecessary following research by the NAVS. An example of recent research:

  • In the USA in Washington University in St Louis, 11 anesthetised seven day old rat pups were placed in a holder, their heads held in position and their scalp cut back and their skulls exposed. Using a motor driven device, researchers repeatedly indented the skulls of the animals in an attempt to recreate traumatic brain injury (TBI) in humans. The rat pups skulls were rapidly impacted between 64 and 128 times taking from 5.3 to 21.2 seconds. Although there are no clear aims, this study was looking to find another approach to modeling TBI in animals even though many other studies, in other species, using various methods of head deformation were cited. Thus the study repeats previous ones that used models such as gel filled skulls and cadavers to study the same injury, only this time using live animals .


Notes to Editor

  • Every year, an estimated 100 million animals suffer and die in experiments in the world’s laboratories.
  • For each recorded use of an animal, a further two to three animals have been killed after a miserable short life, simply because they are surplus to requirements.
  • However, the fundamental flaw of animal research is that each species responds differently to substances, making animal tests unreliable as a way to predict effects in humans.
  • Laboratory animals suffer terribly at every stage of their lives; the law allows the infliction of pain and suffering on animals that would, in other circumstances, be illegal.
  • The ADI spends £300,000 a year on grants to scientists conducting non-animal research, and urges the Government to focus on replacements for animal tests, for the sake of both people and animals.
  • A MORI Poll of February 2005 recorded that 81% of people agreed that there needs to be more research into alternatives to animal experimentation and 76% could only accept animal experimentation with no unnecessary suffering to animals.

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