Animal Aid

Edinburgh's Victims of Charity: shocking mouse experiments prompt major city centre protest

Posted 6 July 2012

On Wednesday July 11th, Animal Aid’s Director and Scientific Consultant will be teaming up with local activists in Edinburgh for a high-profile demonstration against a shocking and repetitive series of brain injury experiments conducted on mice at Edinburgh University. Much of the funding for the research comes from the Alzheimer’s Society. We will be showing a film to members of the public that depicts the nature of these experiments, so that they can see exactly how the charity is using money donated to it.

Alongside the video, we will have specially produced leaflets and posters, as well as custom-made mouse masks, so it promises to be a really eye-catching demonstration!

The Edinburgh research involves inflicting stroke and traumatic brain damage on mice, studying how the animals respond to memory testing and then analysing the chemicals in their brains. One frequently used test is the Morris water maze, in which mice are forced to swim in a pool of water until they find a submerged platform. Mice tend to panic when immersed in water, and the test is acknowledged, even by its users, as ‘somewhat unpleasant’. The testing regime on the brain-damaged mice can go on for ten days or more.

Animal Aid’s Scientific Consultant, Dr Adrian Stallwood, has rigorously examined the justifications given for the work, and notes that, as well as being extremely cruel, the research is highly repetitive and, in general, the researchers attempt to reproduce findings that have already been discovered from clinical, epidemiological or autopsy studies in humans. Despite this, the Alzheimer’s Society continues to use money donated by the public to pay for these lethal experiments. In the autumn of 2011, the Society granted £335,176 to an Edinburgh researcher to continue brain-damaging mice for a further three years.

Professor Lawrence Hanson, a highly distinguished specialist in geriatric neuropathology, has spoken out against the use of animal ‘models’:

‘The “cures” that work in the rodents have never worked when applied to humans… The species differences that have evolved over millions of years make animal models largely useless, except for the purposes of enhancing scientific careers and attracting lots of grant money.’

The film we will be showing contains footage taken from training videos, which teach researchers how to conduct the kind of procedures used in the experiments conducted at Edinburgh University. You can view it here: Warning: graphic content

Read background information about the experiments:

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