A medical-gloved hand reaches toward a timid mouse perched atop a metal cage

Exposed: Mouse Experimenter Suspended for Cruelty

Amy Meyer, June 12, 2020

You won’t believe the long list of animal cruelty that got him suspended.

You know that even though mice are small and different from us in many ways, they are incredible animals. They empathize with others. They’re smart. They love to explore. They have complex levels of communication. And of course, they experience fear and pain, like any other animal.

Experimenters often ignore, or don’t care about, these plain facts.

NEAVS’s latest exposé found one such experimenter at Marshall University. This case shows how much experimenters abuse, mistreat, and ignore mice in laboratories.

You’re not going to believe the long list of problems documented about what he did to an innocent mouse.

A List of Horrors

  • The experimenter didn’t give the mouse pain medication before or after a painful surgery. His protocol required pain and inflammation relief twice a day for a week. He didn’t even buy the pain medicine.

  • After the surgery, the experimenter put the mouse alone in a cage. He didn’t provide nesting or enrichment material, and nothing to keep the mouse’s body warm. This caused even more suffering for the mouse.

  • The experimenter was supposed to put the mouse out of their misery if they showed 4 of 7 signs of stress. When the mouse was found, they showed 6 horrific signs:

  • severely dehydrated 

  • not eating or drinking—did not attempt to reach the food or water

  • abnormal hunched posture

  • reduced movement

  • unkempt appearance (was not grooming)

  • appeared to be shaking from cold 

  • The experimenter was supposed to stitch the mouse’s head back up after he cut into it. Instead, he used glue to seal the wound. And he did it poorly—his carelessness left glue residue that pulled the mouse’s skin so tight that the mouse couldn’t blink on their own.

  • When the lab did an autopsy on the mouse, they discovered several instruments in the mouse’s body. 

The experimenter conducted an unapproved surgery that implanted a cannula, metal brain cannula, and a minipump into the mouse. Make no mistake, these were painful processes.

Minipumps are like capsules that contain drugs or other experiment substances. Experimenters implant them into the bodies of mice, and the drugs release gradually.

Some Good News

These findings were documented by Marshall University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), a committee required by all labs experimenting on animals protected by the Animal Welfare Act. Typically, the most IACUCs do when experimenters break the rules is require that they go through a couple training sessions.

This time, something rare happened.

The IACUC voted unanimously to suspend the experimenter from all live animal experiments for 3 years. They also completely closed the protocol.

NEAVS so rarely sees this, it’s a clear sign of how much this mouse suffered. But it’s important to point out—much of this cruelty happens at labs across the country, every day. When experimenters cross their T’s and dot their I’s first, these IACUCs pay little attention.

This is why we fight. People deserve to know about the horror show happening to animals inside laboratories.

Laboratories will never expose the truth themselves—it’s up to all of us to expose their cruelty to animals. Keep learning and exposing the hideous truth; learn about the silent sufferers in labs.


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