Tell the University of Houston-Clear Lake to STOP Abusing Animals in Classroom Labs!

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Update: PETA just obtained the public records regarding the rats used in the University of Houston-Clear Lake's (UHCL) cruel experiments. Now we know why the school desperately fought to block the records' release. They show that a university employee crammed 10 rats into a plastic box meant to hold only six, knew the box had a broken ventilation fan, transported the animals in the box anyway, and then left them to suffer in a hot car for an undisclosed period of time. This occurred in April, when temperatures in Houston would quickly make the interior of a parked car a death trap. All 10 rats suffered from the extreme heat and were found in distress, which resulted in the painful death of six of them. We're asking the Harris County District Attorney's Office to pursue a cruelty-to-animals investigation at the university.

Before the rats were left in the employee's car, they were tormented for months by students as part of an undergraduate psychology class. (See the information below.)

"After surviving starvation and torment in an archaic classroom experiment, these rats were left to suffocate and die in an unventilated, overcrowded cage in a hot car," says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. "PETA is calling on UH-Clear Lake to learn from these animals' horrific deaths and immediately modernize its psychology course to use only non-animal methods."

Tipped off by a distraught student, PETA has learned that rats are subjected to cruel psychology classroom experiments at the University of Houston–Clear Lake's (UHCL) main campus, even though modern and humane teaching methods are used instead in the same course at another UHCL campus.

According to course documents, the rats are deprived of food for extended periods of time and then forced into tiny plastic boxes, where they're "trained" to press a lever that delivers food to them. The student who alerted PETA to the laboratory course informed us that the rat the student was instructed to train was in such distress that she sat motionless in the corner of her chamber for 15 minutes. The student reported that rats cried out when they were handled by students—an activity known to cause rats stress and anxiety. Rats who are not adopted out after the experiments are either put back into the university's "breeding colony" or are killed.

Meanwhile, UHCL's Pearland campus offers the exact same course, but rather than experimenting on terrified and hungry rats, students use interactive computer simulations and train adoptable dogs at a local animal shelter to learn about animal behavior. These humane methods have repeatedly been shown to teach students as well as or better than lessons involving animals in laboratories.

Records obtained by PETA also reveal numerous recent violations in other laboratories at the University of Houston, including incidents in which a monkey died of dehydration after a drinking valve had become disconnected and no one noticed, a living mouse was found in a refrigerator intended for dead animals, and a mouse with severe and likely painful swelling of the stomach and inability to access food and water easily was left to suffer for days before finally being euthanized.

Please urge university officials to modernize the school's laboratories, beginning by replacing its cruel classroom experiments on rats with humane teaching methods.

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Paul E.

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