Steel coils are implanted in your eyes. Your inner ears are intentionally destroyed; you become deaf. Holes are drilled into your skull and electrodes implanted in your brain.
You wake up during one of many surgeries.
You are starved for days.
These are only some of the torments suffered by an orange tabby cat at the hands of University of Wisconsin-Madison experimenters, according to PETA.
This is not a case that requires weighing potential benefits to human health against the suffering of non-human experimental subjects. This cat, Double Trouble, was tortured solely for prestige and profit. PETA reports that the school’s own excuse for the experiment was that it needed to “keep up a productive publication record that ensures our constant funding.”
Double Trouble’s case was never published because it was deemed a failure.
What happens to cats who fail at UW-Madison? For Double Trouble, it was the death penalty.
And what about this “constant funding” that the school was so eager for — where did it come from? American taxpayers. The federal National Institutes of Health paid for Double Trouble’s torture. The Wisconsin State Journal (the Journal) reports that the university is still conducting these experiments on other cats. The school uses 30 cats each year in this experiment.
NIH has given more than $3 million for the project that claimed Double Trouble’s miserable life. Clearly UW-Madison’s strategy for getting “constant funding” is working.
WARNING: Photo on next page may be disturbing.
Double Trouble at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PETA)
Meanwhile, PETA reports, “researchers at prestigious institutions around the world are already using modern methods with human volunteers to investigate” the question Double Trouble’s tormentors claimed to be analyzing, about the brain’s ability to locate the source of sounds. According to an expert in human brain research, Dr. Lawrence Hansen, experiments on this topic “can be” — and are being — “conducted ethically on human volunteers using sophisticated brain imaging and recording techniques.”
The Journal quotes James DuBois, a medical ethicist, opining that the cat experiments have probably had “at least a decent level of compliance” because they have been underway since 1996 and therefore have been through regular reviews. But reviews of animal experiments are not exactly rigorous. They are conducted by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees, known as IACUCs, which must include at least one animal experimenter and often include many more. Every laboratory that experiments on vertebrates must have its own IACUC, and it can include only one person not affiliated with the lab. Everyone else can be an insider.
Dr. Hansen points out that IACUCs put foxes in charge of the hen house. “An oversight system in which animal experimenters are charged with reviewing and approving the work of other animal experimenters is seriously flawed,” he wrote in the Journal.
Among the most disheartening details of Double Trouble’s tragic tale is that the researchers knew that she had emotions. They recorded in their records that she appeared “depressed.” They willingly tortured an innocent creature whom they knew was capable of being depressed, and therefore undoubtedly realized was also capable of being terrified and suffering awful pain. And they did it for money.
According to the Journal, PETA filed complaints with two federal agencies alleging that the school violated the federal Animal Welfare Act. A school spokesperson protested that there is “no justification for any of the claims.”
Please sign this petition to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to stop the experiments that destroyed Double Trouble’s life.
Photo credit: iStockphoto