Budget cuts, sequesters and human heart health be damned — the American government will let nothing stand between it and handing laboratories money to do abhorrent, disgusting things to animals.
When NIH’s budget was recently cut by five percent, it had to choose which projects to stop funding. It elected to tighten the belt on the three-generation, 65-year-long Framingham Heart Study, which studies cardiovascular disease – the country’s “leading cause of death and serious illness.”
The Framingham Heart Study uses taxpayers’ money to save taxpayers’ lives. It has “led to the identification of the major…risk factors [for heart disease] — high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity — as well as a great deal of valuable information on the effects of related factors such as blood triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels, age, gender, and psychosocial issues.”
The NIH gouged $4 million out of Framingham’s $9 million contract. If battling heart disease — and getting great results — isn’t what NIH prioritizes, what does it consider worth investing in?
Seriously sadistic sex stuff with rodents, especially if the animals are snuffed out at the end.
Here, courtesy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are a few things NIH is still funding. Together they would cover the amount pulled out of the Framingham Heart Study more than three times over.
* Mice and rats electrically stimulated after penises mutilated and injected with chemicals: $2.8 million
Johns Hopkins experimenters cut all the skin off the penises of live mice and rats, electrically stimulated their penises with electrodes for up to five minutes, and injected their penises with various chemicals, then checked whether they could sustain an erection. They then killed the animals and cut their penises apart.
* Mice’s sex drive tested after brains burned: $1.5 million
Boston University experimenters locked female mice into restraint devices, drilled holes into their skulls, and burned lesions into their brains. They then recorded the amount of time the injured females spent sniffing urine samples from castrated versus intact males. In a subsequent experiment, the researchers put the females with males and measured the females’ sexual receptivity. Experimenters then killed and dissected all of the mice, including the males.
* Rats’ sex drive tested following Prozac injections and removal of ovaries: $2 million
Texas Woman’s University experimenters injected female rats with antidepressant drugs and placed them with male rats. They observed and measured the females’ sexual receptivity. Then they surgically removed the rats’ ovaries and injected them with sex hormones, and again observed their sexual behavior.
* Hamsters’ sex drive tested following brain damage: $1.8 million
U.C. Berkeley experimenters cut into the skulls of female hamsters and implanted tubes in their brains and pumps in their scalps. They pumped saline or hormones related to sexual behavior into the females’ brains, and videotaped the animals as they could see, smell, and hear — but not touch — a male hamster. Experimenters used brushes to stimulate the female hamsters, and observed their sexual receptivity. Then they killed them and cut their brains apart.
* Rats’ interest in drugs tested following brain damage and sex withdrawal: $4.5 million
University of Michigan experimenters measured the time it took for male rats to mount females, insert their penises and ejaculate. The experimenters then restrained the rats, cut into their skulls, implanted tubes in their brains, and pumped in a chemical that would block the rats’ ability to process sexual pleasure. The experimenters watched the rats having sex. Then they withheld sex from the rats for one to four weeks and measured the rats’ interest in an amphetamine reward. Experimenters killed all the animals and dissected their brains.
It seems more important to NIH that Americans can reliably get off than that they don’t die young of heart attacks. Being humane, as in not torturing and killing helpless, conscious animals, isn’t even on the radar screen.
Photo credit: Wikimedia.org
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