Canadian University Criticized for Pain Study on Mice

Vivisectors in Canada have come under criticism for their tests on lab mice’s responses to pain. It should come as no surprise, however, that the scientists were found to be within the ethical guidelines that govern animal testing.

The tests in question involve subjecting lab mice to unnecessary pain, then photographing their faces to document how their facial expression showed they were in pain. The methods used included injecting the mice with mustard oil.

The study and the researcher, Jeffery Mogil, came under fire when criticism from a newsletter on the subject of lab animal welfare prompted an investigation into the research. The publisher of that newsletter, Leslie Norins, said that the study seemed “frivolous” because of the large amount of information already available on the subject and, in his view, the research came close to a violation of the national guidelines on animal testing.

It is indicative of the lack of concern for animal life that even a study wherein scientists spend years inflicting needless pain on animals — simply for the purpose of inflicting needless pain — can pass so-called ethical standards. Norins was right when he said the research was frivolous, but he didn’t go far enough because he didn’t say that beyond frivolous, the study was cruel, unethical and just plain wrong.

There are very few animal testing reports that surprise me anymore. As a vegan I’m inundated daily with vivisection horror stories, but this one stood out simply based on the level of superfluousness in the research itself, not to mention the blithe attitude of Mr. Mogil toward his critics. It’s not even that the research would be more valid or more easily defensible if the pain was a side effect of some other procedure, but it might be a little bit less infuriating on a personal level.

I can think of few things more humiliating than being hurt, simply to record the look on your face when you wince in pain, and few more pointless scientific research studies than the ones being conducted at McGill University.

Photo: Aaron Logan

279 comments

Joy Jin
Joy Jin6 years ago

This is sick. If this is within animal testing ethical guidelines, then these guidelines are way too loose. Any animal testing that involves putting animals in pain should be illegal.

Joy Jin
Joy Jin6 years ago

This is disgusting. If this is within the animal testing ethical guidelines, then these guidelines are way too loose. Any animal testing that hurts animals should be illegal.

Elizabeth P.
.6 years ago

I'd very much like to inject mustard oil into the "researchers" and I know just where.

rene p.
Rene p.6 years ago

Hmmm,I can think of a few humans, especially in the Repuglican Party(no typo),who would make excellent test subjects for pain...ya know,those who have inflicted pain on humanity,those who are heartless, coldblooded and don't give a damn about the middle class,the unemployed,etc....those "hate radio/TV" jerks like Beck,Limpbaugh;those "hate politicians" like Gingrich,Rove,Cheyny,Palin,Boechner.I'm just sayin'

Josie Eldred
Josie Eldred6 years ago

Disgusting. Animals are not on this earth for us to torture and abuse them.

Juan Pablo de la Torre

How barbaric! What is it needed for?

CR C.
CR C.6 years ago

You make me sick these are living creature not there to use for your experiments. How would you like someone to experiment on you. Wakeup to yourselves and save these animals.

mariya s.
Mari S.6 years ago

This is so absurdly ridiculous and insulting -- even if the tests could be justified objectively, there are humane alternatives whereby testing on animals is not warranted nor needed. But these particular tests on animals could only be justified if you're a psychopath. STOP IT! STOP IT! Allow me to squeeze your ears applying pressure at different intervals, just so that i can record the pain on your face. It's shameful, unless you're mentally challenged, in which case you should be under doctor's supervision 24/7.

Mary Ellen W.
Mary Wightman6 years ago

The abuses that animals suffer at humans hands is simply inhumane. This is a gross misuse of money and power. Couldn't these scientists expertise be better used to, I don't know ACTUALLY help suffering people and/or animals instead creating more suffering?

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y.6 years ago

A brilliant use of tax dollars by our university system - they figured out that pain hurts!

This is a revelation that could have been provided free of charge (and of real pain) by Tweety and Sylvester, no wait, the Coyote and Roadrunner, no wait, Daffy Duck, no wait, Elmer Fudd...

But there is seriously valuable pain research out there. It does not involve inflicting pain on animals but uses human volunteers and test trials of willing human patients who badly need pain therapy. Makes sense-to discover better therapies and drugs for people, ask people if they feel better when they take them! They might not work exactly the same way on a mouse or a rabbit.

You shouldn't have to go to school for 12 years or even have a doctorate to figure that out.