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Update (July 20, 2023): PETA successfully pushed the U.S. Navy to stop carrying out gruesome decompression experiments on sheep at the University of Wisconsin–Madison up to two years ahead of schedule, following our letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, sparing sheep the agony of cardiovascular collapse, spinal cord injury, and paralysis.
But the Navy is still funding similar grisly experiments on other species at numerous universities around the country. PETA has sent a letter to top Pentagon brass and letters to the schools’ leaders urging them to sink these wasteful and irrelevant tests, and we need your help.
This doomed animal in a hyperbaric chamber is one of the countless rats who University of South Florida experimenter Jay Dean has used to supposedly study oxygen toxicity in humans, even though human-relevant, animal-free methods are widely available.
Please take action below to tell the Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense, and four universities that they should follow the lead of UW-Madison by ending deadly and pointless animal tests in favor of superior, human-relevant, non-animal research methods.
This rat, with drastically different physiology from humans, was locked in a hyperbaric chamber and forced to undergo an agonizing decompression test conducted by University of South Florida experimenter Jay Dean.
In this distressing test, University of South Florida experimenter Jay Dean inserted electrodes into sensitive rats and subjected them to the harrowing conditions of a hyperbaric chamber, even though rats are not biologically accurate stand-ins for humans.
Originally published on September 1, 2022:
The U.S. Navy is squeezing the life out of sheep and other animals in gruesome and often deadly decompression sickness/illness (DCS/DCI) and oxygen toxicity experiments that are as pointless as they are out of step with international standards. Joined by retired Rear Admiral Marion J. Balsam, PETA sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, urging him to end these tests on animals and switch to superior, human-relevant research. After he failed to respond, PETA sent a letter to his boss, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, urging him to intervene.
During recent tests that involved Navy experimenters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Naval Medical Center San Diego in San Diego, and Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, sheep were locked in high-pressure chambers and exposed to a significant atmospheric pressure equivalent to what a diver would experience at 257 feet below sea level, where they were left for 31 minutes. The sheep were then forced to decompress and endure “severe DCS,” crippling “joint pains,” “bloating”—which was treated by stomach “puncture”—and “cardiovascular collapse” or “spinal cord injury,” causing “distress or paralysis” and frequently resulting in death. This extremely painful experience is commonly referred to as “the bends” and occurs when bubbles of nitrogen gas form in the blood, muscles, and organs, including the brain. Sheep were then injected with an experimental oxygen-carrying substance that failed to reduce mortality, killed, and dissected.