Rats & Mice

Rats were anaesthetised and had tubes inserted into their heart, artery and vein, as well as their bladders. Subsequently, a solution consisting of a high level of faecal slurry was injected into the rats' stomachs with the intent of causing their death within 48 hours. During this procedure the rats were observed to be clearly suffering; they were hunched, their fur was on end, their eyes inflammed and their abdomens bloated1.

An experiment at the University of Manchester studying training-induced bradycardia (low pulse rate) involved researchers forcing rats to run on treadmills inside metal chambers with electrodes and transmitters surgically implanted into their stomachs. The rats were made to run uphill at hourly intervals each day, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks, then killed. In the same study, mice were subjected to a "swimming programme". The animals were forced to swim in tanks for 60 minutes twice a day, 7 days a week, for 4 weeks. These were also killed once the study was complete2.

Dr. Andre Menache, veterinary surgeon explains: "The authors of this study clearly state that the most compelling evidence that too much exercise can be bad for the heart comes from clinical observations of long distance cyclists and elderly marathon runners. There was therefore absolutely no need to force rats and mice to run and swim to exhaustion and then later kill them simply to publish another meaningless animal study, meaningless because rats and mice cannot predict what happens in people. Rats and mice are quadruped, which means that most of their blood volume is at or above heart level. In humans, most of the blood volume is below heart level. It is well known that there are important differences in heart function between men and women. However, the authors of this study compared female rats to male mice. In addition to all of these methodological flaws, the authors admit that there are species differences in electrical heart function between mouse and rat."

Another experiment co-funded by the British Heart Foundation and conducted at Cambridge University involved rats being confined in ‘hypoxia chambers’ for two weeks, where they were forced to breathe air that had a low concentration of oxygen.3

The research was investigating whether eating vegetables rich in nitrates, (such as kale and spinach) could prevent some heart patients from developing a condition in which their organs do not receive enough oxygen. Eating green vegetables is already recommended as part of a healthy diet, but there is no reason why the researchers’ theory could not have been studied on volunteer patients. As well as sparing dozens of animals the misery of invasive experiments, a study on humans would have produced results that are relevant to our own species.

1. Pharmacological inhibition of DDAH1 improves survival, haemodynamics and organ function in experimental septic shock. Biochem J. 2014 Jun 1;460(2):309-16.

2. D’Souza, A, Bucchi, A, Johnsen, A. B., Jit, S., Logantha, R. J., Monfredi, O., Yanni, J., Prehar, S., Hart, G., Cartwright, E., Wisloff, U., Dobryznski, H., DiFrancesco, D.,Morris, G. M. and Boyett, M. R. (2014) Exercise training reduces resting heart rate via downregulation of the funny channel HCN4. Nature Communications

3. http://www.victimsofcharity.org/rats-deprived-of-oxygen-in-cruel-and-pointless-bhf-funded-research/