University licensed to experiment on animals using heroin and cocaine

Following Animal Justice Project’s exposé earlier this year, “Deadly Doses: A Legal Low” on animal experiments to research the effects of recreational drugs in humans inside UK Universities, today we can reveal for the first time that the University of Bath is using animals in cruel cocaine and heroin experiments.

Animal Justice Project has obtained information from the University of Bath following a Freedom of Information request and can reveal ongoing and repetitive experimental Project Licenses involving the use of “Class A” drugs being issued. These licenses would have been approved by the Home Office and the University’s own Animal Welfare Review Board. Under the current licence, which is valid until 2019, researchers are allowed to implant permanent cannulae through which they can inject substances such as cocaine and heroin directly into rat’s brains.
In a peer reviewed scientific paper published in December 2014, researchers used heroin and cocaine in a study on 78 rats. In one experiment, Bath University researchers describe how rat’s tails were immersed in water heated to 52 degrees centigrade (125 degrees farenheit). The purpose of this cruel experiment was to investigate how the rats would react to pain, and how quickly they would withdraw their tails from the boiling water. This type of protocol should never have been approved by the Home Office or carried out by Bath University researchers.
According to Animal Justice Project Science Advisor, Dr. Andre Menache: “Placing rats’ tails in very hot water would normally be considered animal torture were it not for the fact that the rats were used as part of an animal experiment at the University of Bath. To the uninformed public, this all might sound like research to treat babies who fall in bathtubs, but incredibly, it is aimed at studying drug addiction”.
In addition to the revealed licenses for experiments on animals using cocaine and heroin, Bath University licenses include:
  • “Milking” mice which means separating a mother from her young, and “milking” the mother using, for example, a syringe or pipette or by using a tube attached to vacuum suction apparatus.
  • The use of animals for “educational purposes” by second year undergraduate students in 2014, despite there being readily available alternatives. Specifically, eight guinea-pigs, 24 rats and ten mice were dissected and sacrificed in the Pharmacological Department.
During 2014, Bath University used 8,248 animals in experiments: 6,279 mice, 211 rats, 1,731 fish, 19 xenopus (frogs and toads) and eight guinea pigs.
Animal Justice Project is a new, international organisation based in the UK and United States working to raise awareness on the plight of animals in laboratories around the globe.