Horrific dental experiments on rabbits

Posted on the 17th April 2018

Researchers wishing to conduct animal experiments must produce a ‘non-technical summary’ of what they plan to do. These summaries are published once the experiments are authorised, often more than a year after they have started. The sketchy details in these reports paint a terrifying picture.

One summary, of an 18-month-long project, was granted in 2016 and only published in December 2017, possibly once the experiments were completed and the animals killed. It outlined the use of male, New Zealand white rabbits described as a ‘first-choice experimental animal for dental implant design studies because of their size and easy handling’. There is no explanation of exactly what would have happened to the rabbits, but the summary describes studying ‘direct experimental measurement on rabbit muscles and bone’ and trying to show that computer models can accurately predict ‘internal forces generated and sustained by the muscles and bones of rabbits while they feed’. With no explanation of the gruesome surgery and the associated pain the animals would suffer, all we are told is that; ‘surgical procedures and associated experiment methods are of moderate severity’. At the end of the research, the rabbits were to be killed to image and dissect their bodies.

We know that rabbits, and other animals in laboratories, are not the same as humans. A disturbing scientific paper from 2011 looked at the anatomy of different animals’ bones to compare them for use in experiments. The paper states: Of all the species we investigated, rabbits seem to be the least desirable model to study oral mechanics and pathophysiology for extrapolation of data to humans’. 

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