Baylor College of Medicine: Hellhole for Animals in Labs

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Gruesome horrors have piled up inside Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) laboratories, where the unqualified bumble through experimental procedures and where callousness and indifference to animal suffering reign. Baby mice limped in pain after experimenters cut off their toes without providing pain medication. Experimenters surgically manufactured conjoined twins sharing a single circulatory system by cutting open and stitching together pairs of mice. Blood was drained from an artery behind the eye of one mouse, and experimenters then removed the eye—all without anesthesia.

After obtaining federal reports documenting a jarring 78 federal animal welfare violations in BCM’s laboratories between February 1, 2019, and June 10, 2021, PETA is filing a cruelty complaint with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, asking that it investigate BCM for apparent violations of Texas’ prohibitions against cruelty to animals.

PETA is also demanding that BCM brass—in our second complaint since September 2019—end the school’s runaway horror show by holding experimenters accountable for the pain and suffering that they cause and barring their access to animals.

Unchecked Agony at Baylor

Federal reports show that BCM experimenters failed to give adequate pain relief to more than 500 animals on 18 separate occasions. The animals included the following:

  • The toes of 20 baby mice were amputated, but the animals did not receive any pain medication.
  • Seventy-eight mice underwent surgery to implant devices in their skulls but received only half the pain medication that they were supposed to get.
  • Four mice were subjected to an invasive cardiac procedure but received no pain medication for six days later.
  • Twelve mice were castrated, and two died when they were not given the prescribed three-day regimen of pain medication.

rules? What’s the rule?

Federal reports show that BCM’s experiments conducted horrendous procedures that had not been approved, in violation of federal regulations, so often that it seems “going rogue” is standard practice at the school. For example:

  • Experimenters amputated the ends of mice’s tails, killed mice by breaking their necks, and amputated their toes without pain medication—all in breach of rules.
  • Five pairs of mice who were stitched together in an experiment were subjected to risky and complicated separation surgery without appropriate oversight.
  • Substances other than those approved for a procedure were injected into 342 mice or administered through gavage tubes thrust down their throats.
  • Blood was drawn from an artery behind a mouse’s eye, and then her eye was removed—all without anesthesia—in unapproved procedures. The mouse died.

Journal of Visualized Experiments: The cruel procedure depicted in this photo, in which two mice are surgically joined so that they share a bloodstream, which was performed at the University of California–Los Angeles. The mice who endured this nightmare were left with little to no control over their movements and likely experienced fear and anxiety as a result. A similar procedure was performed on mice at Baylor.

Expired Meds, Widespread Incompetence

BCM’s staff can’t even be trusted to give animals food and water. Federal records show one mouse died after he was left without food or water following skull surgery. Other examples of BCM’s incompetence include the following:

  • An expired anesthetic was given to 286 mice before a procedure akin to embalming in humans, in which a chemical solution is injected into an animal’s vascular system to replace the blood.
  • A piglet who was subjected to surgery suffered from a rupture of the small intestine because of incompetently spaced stitches.
  • An experimenter who killed four mice was not approved to perform the procedure.

BCM raked in more than $351 million in taxpayer money last year. About half of that underwrites the animal experimentation that the school is clearly incapable or unwilling to conduct in compliance with basic minimum animal welfare regulations and guidelines. Its morally bankrupt practices cause grotesque and almost unimaginable pain to animals. It’s time that BCM got out of the animal torture business and into the business of improving human health by adopting non-animal, human-relevant research methods.

What you can do

Join thousands of PETA supporters who have already called on Congress to stop throwing away taxpayer money on cruel, useless animal experiments and instead focus on modern, non-animal research methods.