The (Dirty) Secret of NIMH: Animal Suffering


Last week, Discover Magazine published a blog reminding us about the 1982 animated movie The Secret of NIMH, which tells the story of a group of rats who acquired superpowers as a result of being tormented in experiments in a government laboratory. Thanks to their powers, the rats in the movie were able to escape the laboratory, but as Discover Magazine pointed out, animals in the real-life NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) aren't as lucky. Day after day, animals at NIMH are forced to endure taxpayer-funded experiments like the following: 

  • Experimenters cut rats' skulls open, injected them with drugs, inserted threads into their arteries to block blood flow to their brains, and finally killed them.
  • Mice had their heads cut open, and workers injected toxins in order to damage the animals' brains. The mice were injected with cocaine, amphetamines, and other drugs and then asphyxiated to death before their brains were cut out and dissected.
  • Experimenters shocked the feet of male mice in order to measure whether the animals sniffed cotton swabs that were soaked with female mouse urine more or less than mice who hadn't been shocked.
  • Vivisectors drilled holes into monkeys' heads, screwed recording chambers and restraint devices into their skulls, and implanted electrodes in their brains.

Rats and mice can feel pain and suffer just as acutely as monkeys, dogs, and cats can, but they are excluded from the minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—the only federal law governing the treatment of animals in laboratories. You can help the real rats of NIMH by urging your Congressional representatives to amend the AWA to include rats and mice.

asplosh/CC by 2.0

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post


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