Injecting Pregnant Sheep With Alcohol Helps No One

Written by Sarah Cavanaugh, Ph.D.

Nine or ten shots of hard liquor in an hour is enough to cause anyone harm. Including sheep. In one of the stranger experiments performed on animals in the name of “science,” Texas A&M University is injecting pregnant sheep near the end of their pregnancies with massive amounts of alcohol in an attempt to simulate the effects of binge drinking in pregnant women.

The baby lambs never even get a chance to experience life. Before they’re born, they are cut out of their mothers’ bodies and killed so that their brains can be dissected. Their mothers are killed, too.

These experiments aren’t new—they’ve been going on for more than 17 years. It started in 1997. Yet they haven’t produced any useful information.

We already know a lot about fetal alcohol syndrome. The first reports of this disease were 40 years ago. Researchers have already extensively studied it in humans. We know that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is linked to a range of serious developmental defects and that we need to do everything we can to prevent this disease.

These experiments at Texas A&M are funded with $5 million in federal grant money from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—part of the National Institutes of Health. This is an agency that can and should be using this funding to focus on preventing fetal alcohol syndrome—a disease that is 100 percent preventable.

With the overwhelming evidence from the human literature, even the surgeon general has acknowledged that fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable and has recommended that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid alcohol consumption. In fact, we know there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy.

So why waste more money and lives? Texas A&M is likely continuing this study just because they have the money to do so—not because they think that after 17 years of conducting the same experiments they will suddenly reveal new information on fetal alcohol syndrome. This is the case with many other animal experiments, where researchers and institutions defend failed experiments so they can get more money.

Texas A&M is not only hurting sheep—they’re harming at-risk women and their future children by distracting attention and funding from efforts to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome.

We already know how fetal alcohol syndrome affects human babies, and we also know the steps we need to take to reduce the rate of fetal alcohol syndrome. We need to implement and carefully test interventions to prevent alcohol use during pregnancy, biomarkers and imaging techniques to detect fetal alcohol syndrome as early as possible, and treatment and support measures for individuals and families affected by the disease.

While Texas A&M’s experiments waste lives, these human-relevant approaches save lives. And as long as limited funding is wasted on these experiments instead of channeled to proactive prevention efforts, babies will continue to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is working hard to stop these experiments. We’ve flooded Texas A&M with petitions, we’ve met with decision makers, and we’re getting the facts out through two billboards outside the campus.

Please learn more this issue at PCRM’s web site.

Sarah Cavanaugh, Ph.D., is a medical research specialist with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

Texas A&M University has learned all they will know from these 17 years of experiments. If they haven't, - well that means they are slow learners!!
Enough is enough.

Karen Anne Bauer
Karen Anne Bauer3 years ago


Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

This is sick and unnecessary. The abuse needs to stop.

Christine Stewart

We already know plenty about fetal alcohol syndrome- this is the worst kind of animal experiment, when the human condition has already been studied extensively....

Val M.
Val M3 years ago

Honestly! When I was at uni, I was told that certain animal experiments were repeated at some universities so that the students could directly observe them. I was absolutely appalled. When I was offered animal experimentation to get my degree, I refused, went and got another supervisor and did something else. Stop animal experimentation!!

shari Russell
Shari Taylor3 years ago

I can't believe they are still doing these expierments knowing they prove nothing to the medical community. This has got to stop. It breaks my heart reading every day what atrocities humans can think up to do to God's precious creatures. It's just unbelievable. Anything for the almighty dollar

Nikolas K.
Nikolas K3 years ago

Hmmmm lots of outcries here about how bad or disgusting this experimentation is and its all so they can collect millions of dollars for doing nothing productive. This work is no different to their experiments on your children masquerading as disease prevention called innoculations and instead of waking up in outrage and taking positive action we get thousand of people looking to hang those who point out this major catastrophy on human nature based on misinformation and false research notes to support their obtaining billions maybe trillions of your dollars for doing this experiment on your child.then you wonder why it is always getting one illness after another grows up to be a misfit in society, shoots all his /her school mates and the list goes on but still you all line up for another taste of venom from a quack and that is just what they are just look at their training curriculum its all about how to write a prescription and how to cut or burn the problem they dont even fix broken bones properly and with no training in nutrition in sight of their degree which is just an application to join an elite group of money hungry exploiters, some wake up and go out into society trying to fix the mistakes of their colleagues while the exclusive club tries to punish them with imprisonment for exposing the scams. Just look at what they are doing to Dr Bryzinski in Texas who actually cures cancer their have been many more like him but most ended up being killed or scared off.

aj E.
aj E3 years ago


Leia P.
Leia P.3 years ago