Exhausted rats electrocuted and forced to exercise in cruel UK experiment

30/06/2014

Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University (LMJU) are using mice and rats in cruel experiments to investigate how the heart responds to exercise. The university recently reported that they used a total of 86 animals for this purpose in 2013 alone.1

In the most recently published study, 103 male rats were forced to run on special motorised treadmills that delivered electric shocks whenever they tried to stop and rest.2 The animals were first subjected to a ‘maximal exercise test’ to determine the point at which they reached exhaustion. This was carried out by gradually increasing the speed and gradient of the treadmill until the rats would rather receive electric shocks than continue running. The experiment was only stopped when the animals remained on the shock plate for 15 seconds.

After the rats’ maximum exercise capabilities were determined, they were forced to run for 30 minutes a day, four days a week, for up to four weeks at either a low (55-60% their maximum capability) or high (85-90% their maximum capability) intensity. If the animals tried to stop running, they were given electric shocks to force them to continue. They were then subjected to heart monitoring experiments under anaesthesia before being killed, by having their necks broken, and then dissected.

The study basically concludes that exercise is good for the heart, a well-known fact that humans have been benefitting from for many years. Similar studies of how the heart is affected by exercise have already been conducted in countless animals and date as far back as the 1980s.3 We believe that experiments like this one at LMJU are therefore particularly cruel and pointless.

 

Sources:

1.        Uni’s 15,000 experiments on animals, Liverpool Echo, 27 Mar 2014: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/UNI'S+15,000+EXPERIMENTS+ON+ANIMALS%3B+Mice,+rabbits,+sheep,+cattle+and...-a0362933891

2.        The adult heart responds to increased workload with physiologic hypertrophy, cardiac stem cell activation, and new myocyte formation. (2012). European Heart Journal, doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehs338. Original article can be found here: http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/10/24/eurheartj.ehs338.abstract

3.        Ultrastructual changes in cardiomyocytes and heart muscle capillaries after vagotomy and physical exertion. (1986). Biull Eksp Biol Med, 102(9): 353-5: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3756342