A new study that will probably leave you grimacing in frustration finds that mice make facial expressions when they're in pain.
We certainly didn't need any more evidence that these small animals are more than test tubes with whiskers and are capable of feeling pain and suffering. And it makes me wince to think about the horrible things they did to mice to elicit expressions like squeezed eyes and bulging cheeks that indicate "key signs of pain."
For the study, mice were videotaped as they suffered after experimenters injected different noxious chemicals into their abdomens, ankles and paws, placed them on hotplates, placed their tails in hot water, put metal binder clips on the tips of their tails, and performed various surgeries on them without administering pain relief after the operations.
While, if anything, the results should bolster the argument that these sensitive, intelligent animals suffer like we do and should not be used in experiments, it appears that the self-interested authors of the study instead want to use the results to create a "pain scale" that can be used as a measuring tool for, you guessed it, more pain experiments on mice.
World Science reports that the study's authors declined its request to republish photos from the study, for fear of "the inflammatory effect such pictures might have on animal rights activists." Gee, ya think? Luckily, WIRED published the heartbreaking photos here.
I hope this story inflames you enough to write to your Congressperson and urge him or her to support an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act to extend legal protections to the 100 millionmice and rats who are languishing in U.S. laboratories and who currently receive absolutely no protection under the law.
Posted by Alisa Mullins