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End Cruel Stress Tests on Animals at UBC!
Forced swim tests put small animals through needless suffering in controversial psychological and addiction experiments. Animals are dropped into a tank of water while researchers watch to see how long it tries to stay afloat.UBC's Dr. Joanne Weinberg, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, is involved in groundbreaking collaborative work investigating alcohol-induced effects on immune profiles of pregnant women and on the immune function of children affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Exciting findings are emerging in this human-based work, yet Dr. Weinberg insists that she will not give up the use of the animal experimentation that she has been involved in for several decades now. At a talk given at UBC, Dr. Weinberg responded to my question regarding the efficacy of forced swim tests by admitting that tests she has recently conducted do not replicate human despair but merely display the animals' survival strategies. Even the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health has come out against the validity of these behavioral assays as valid models of depression. Still, Dr. Weinberg offers no guarantee that these kinds of tests will stop in her laboratory. By her adherence to controversial methods of inducing shock and stress in animal models 'standing in' for the human patient, when superior human-based imaging techniques are readily available, Dr. Weinberg - and by extension, UBC and its Animal Care Committee - are in clear violation of the Three R's: Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement of animal models wherever possible. An esteemed colleague of hers writes that Dr. Weinberg has championed a neglected area that impacts especially Indigenous women and their children. But to carry out her research she has committed abominations on generations of rodents. Like all who persist in heading down the blind alleyways of animal experimentation, it is the technique that is retarding real progress and destroying hope for cures.