The University of Bath’s Open Day last Saturday was used as the launch of a new campaign by the Animal Justice Project, with a protest taking place against the use of experiments on rodents.
The new “Lifeline” campaign, which is supported by Harry Potter star, Evanna Lynch, Peter Egan, from Downtown Abbey, and Bristol MP Kerry McCarthy, revealed the findings into an investigation into depression and drug addiction experiments on mice and rats by scientists at the University of Bath.
The University of Bath has been using increasing numbers of animals in experiments year on year and, in 2017, researchers used over 12,000 animals in experiments there, including almost 8,000 mice and 139 rats.
Campaigners for the Animal Justice Project gathered at the campus on Saturday, showing emotive footage to new students, while wearing surgical masks, holding placards, and handing out ‘resource cards’ to encourage students not to use animals in their studies.
Currently 50 percent of animal experiments in Britain take place in universities, including the University of Bath.
Experiments have included surgery on rats, including the implanting of cannulas to administer drugs straight into their brains, and tests where mice are placed into inescapable water-filled tanks, with their escape behaviours monitored.
Speaking about the various experiments and tests conducted at the university, Animal Justice Project Science Advisor, Eva Pereira Blanco, said: “These experiments show clearly the difficulties arising from using animals as ‘models’ for complex human mood and behavioural disorders, such as depression and drug addiction.
“Both of which are characterised by their multiple causes, symptoms and high individual heterogeneity. The large numbers of animals used, the loss of scientific rigour we have read about, the biased results due to, for example, use of the same laboratory strains (not representative at all of the heterogeneity of the reality) and the difficulties in translating ‘successful’ animal results into humans due to, for example, the huge differences in dose administration, reveal that Bath University is wasting its time and money on pointless and crude work.”
Claire Palmer, Founder of Animal Justice Project, added: “Animal Justice Project’s Lifeline campaign launches today at Bath University because of their pointless and cruel experiments on mice.
“These animals are not disposable tools for researchers at Bath University to throw away once they are done with them. They are intelligent and social animals who have the same desire to live as us.
“Britain’s youth are turning towards a more ethical, vegan lifestyle, and this university’s antiquated animal research won’t sit well with new students here. Its days are numbered.”
In a statement, a University of Bath spokesperson said: “The University of Bath conducts biomedical research aimed at understanding disease and developing new drugs.
“We work with a range of small animals such as mice, rats, and fish. Our researchers have made significant advances in motor neuron disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, cancer and the therapeutic potential of stem cells because of animal studies.
“Research at the University is investigating how the use of animals can be reduced, or even replaced, by using tissue culture and computer modelling, but some properties are shown only by whole animals.
“The University of Bath is a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK and we publish information about our animal research each year.”
You can find further details about animal testing at the University of Bath at www.bath.ac.uk/topics/animal-research/.