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Top Ten


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Each year, billions of dollars go to fund animal experiments, much of it through United States-taxpayer supported funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The unsuspecting public is led to believe that these experiments are necessary to promote human health and well-being. Indeed, the mission of NIH is to “to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.”

But under close scrutiny, this claim does not hold up. Federally-funded animal experiments continue year after year, examining the same questions, at huge cost, creating “animal models” for diseases and conditions that are uniquely human, like smoking and alcoholism.

The American public should be outraged by this inhumane and fraudulent use of animal life. For this reason, IDA has created the “Outragies Awards”, to highlight the bogus use of animals in cruel, repetitive and wasteful research.

Awarded to the “Top Ten Most Outrageous Animal Experiments,” the Outragies, based on publications released in 2012, highlight stupid, cruel and truly outrageous research, like tormenting baby rats to study “child abuse”, giving hallucinogenic drugs to monkeys to create an animal model of schizophrenia, and hanging mice upside down by their tails to study depression.

Tragically, there are hundreds of animal experiments that are outrageous and these Top Ten simply exemplify some of the worst. These experiments—the cream of the crop —show that your tax dollars and animals’ lives are unjustifiably wasted on research that adds nothing to medical progress and does not promote human health.

The Outragies: Awarded to the Top Ten Most
Outrageous Experiments on Animals for 2012

1. Most Outrageously Cruel
Born to be killed: Newborn monkeys cut up for vision experiments
Scientists at four institutions, including the University of Houston, College of Optometry, Vanderbilt University, and the National Institute of Mental Health used newborn monkeys in grisly, invasive research, allegedly to study how vision develops in primates. READ MORE.

2. Most Outrageously Senseless
Cats deafened and turned into experimental equipment
The winner in the category for Most Outrageously Senseless went to researchers at the esteemed institutions of Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Highly invasive hearing experiments were conducted on 15 young cats, purporting to improve hearing aids and cochlear implants for human use.  READ MORE.

3. Most Outrageously Depraved
Mice with sense of smell wiped out are anxious
Inspired by their ability to damage the sense of smell through genetic tampering, a team of eight researchers at Columbia University and their collaborators conducted a study on male mice with an impaired sense of smell, suggesting that this might help treat anxiety in people. READ MORE.

4. Most Outrageously Heartless
Baby rats tormented to study “child abuse”
The award for Most Outrageously Heartless goes to four scientists at New York University Emotional Brain Institute who teamed up to abuse baby rats. Literally. They set out to mimic “child abuse,” but ended up subjecting infant rats to something more like the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib. READ MORE.

5. Most Outrageously Absurd
Broken homes don’t lead to drinking in prairie voles
The Most Outrageously Absurd Award goes to a group of researchers at Emory University, Oregon Health & Science University and Quinnipiac University, who wanted to examine whether prairie voles who are raised by one parent would be more apt to drink alcohol than those raised by both parents. READ MORE.

6. Most Outrageously Repetitive
Fright Nights at University of Wisconsin: 25 years of terrifying monkeys
The runaway winner of our Most Outrageously Repetitive award is a team of researchers at the Health Emotions Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In a recent paper, they report on another 24 monkeys they frightened and killed, purportedly to study neurological components of childhood anxiety. Young male rhesus monkeys, ranging in age from 9 months to 4 years, were placed alone in a test cage and then a “human intruder” would enter the room and sit there for 30 minutes.  READ MORE.

7. Most Outrageously Inexcusable
Nicotine damages lungs of baby mice
The Most Outrageously Inexcusable category goes to a team of researchers at seven institutions who exposed pregnant and newborn mice to nicotine so they could study the effects on their lungs. Mice were surgically implanted with “mini-pumps” to expose them to nicotine. Some were forced to drink it when it was added to their water source. READ MORE.

8. Most Outrageously Superfluous (Best Tax-Payer-Funded Vacation)
Monkeys pumped with PCP to study “schizophrenia”
Our Most Outrageously Superfluous award goes to a team of eight scientists from Yale University, UCLA, and pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer. Their research was conducted on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts where wild caught monkeys are captured and used at the St. Kitts Biomedical Research Foundation. READ MORE.

9. Most Outrageously Asinine
Psychologists strive for breakthroughs by studying sexual preference in hamsters
Our Most Outrageously Asinine award goes to researchers at Cornell University for their study of the sexual inclination of hamsters to mate with a “foreign” hamster. Psychologists studied the sexual habits of Turkish as compared to Syrian hamsters. The object was to see whether female Turkish hamsters would readily mate with male Syrian hamsters.  READ MORE.

10.Most Outrageously Pointless
Stressed rats drink more than non-stressed rats
In an expensive study of the obvious, psychologists at the Graduate Center for the City University of New York designed an experiment to see what effect stress would have on rats who drink alcohol. Of course, rats don’t drink, so first they had to get them used to drinking by mixing alcohol in their water. READ MORE.

Click here if you want to read the full Top Ten experiments in pdf format.

What You Can Do

Please help IDA in speaking out about the millions of dollars that fund this sort of outrageously wasteful and terribly cruel research on animals. It’s time to put a stop to it. The US economy is in crisis, making this even more urgent to address.

Click here to contact your US Senators and Congressperson. Ask for much stricter oversight for granting money to animal research. Insist that all NIH-funded experiments comply with its stated mission “to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.”

You can also call your elected officials. Find their phone numbers, or call the US Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.