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Every year, tens of millions of our tax dollars are squandered on cruel experiments on mice to study a condition known as sepsis—a serious reaction to severe infection—even though these experiments have scientifically proved to be entirely worthless for understanding the condition in humans.
Experimenters at the University of Pittsburgh punctured the intestines of mice to induce sepsis, causing the animals to suffer and experience painful deaths.
In laboratories across the U.S., animal experimenters use small, vulnerable mice in painful and deadly sepsis experiments. To induce this condition, experimenters use various methods, each one extraordinary in its cruelty:
- They puncture the animals' intestines (watch how this awful procedure is done) so that fecal matter and accompanying bacteria leak into their stomachs.
- They stitch mice together along the length of their bodies and inject toxins into them.
- They inject feces from one mouse into the abdominal cavity of another.
- They insert a stent into the animals' colons so that fecal matter leaks out continuously into their bodies.
- They shove thick gavage tubes down the throats of mice and pump harmful bacteria into their stomachs.
- They push a "bacterial slurry" into the animals' nostrils.
The procedure depicted in the video above, in which two mice are surgically joined so that they share a bloodstream, was performed at the University of California–Los Angeles. A similar procedure is performed on mice in sepsis experiments.
Once sepsis is induced, the animals are doomed to experience a horrible death. As infection takes over their little bodies, the mice endure the following:
- Lethargy and disorientation
- Pain throughout their bodies, with the worst in their abdomens
- Fever, chills, and diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing
- Septic shock when the infection reaches the bloodstream and blood pressure plummets
- Multi-organ failure
The mice will eventually become so sick that they'll be unable to move.
These experiments are not only cruel but also entirely worthless. In 2013, a landmark study that took a decade to complete and involved dozens of researchers from institutions across the country found that the results of sepsis experiments done on mice CAN NEVER be applied to humans because the respective genetic responses to sepsis in the two species are completely different. The study was so groundbreaking that the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world's biggest public funder of biomedical experiments, commented on it. Director Francis Collins wrote, "No wonder drugs designed for the mice failed in humans: they were, in fact, treating different conditions!" Collins noted that 150 drugs successfully treated sepsis in mice, but all of these later failed in human clinical trials.
In spite of all this, NIH is currently spending our tax dollars—more than $120 million in 2018 alone—on sepsis experiments on mice. While it has been funding bad science, a 2015 report issued by an expert working group of researchers from industry groups, academia, and the government identified several cutting-edge methods that could be used instead of failed animal "models" to study sepsis—including in vitro cell cultures, three-dimensional cell cultures to explore the condition's progression in humans, and human genomic information to discover how sepsis affects individuals differently.
None of the mice consented to the suffering and trauma that they endured. Please help get justice for these and other animals by urging NIH to stop funding worthless sepsis experiments on them.
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