Experiments at Cardiff University have been revealed in which kittens were raised in darkness or had their eyelids sewn shut, and were then subjected to brain experiments and killed. 31 kittens (and their mothers in some cases) were used in the research which took place in 2010 but has only recently come to light. It is very possible that Cardiff is continuing to conduct animal research of this kind. Please contact them to demand that they stop these tests.
Kittens were raised in total darkness for up to three months in the experiment, while others had one eyelid sewn shut after a month of life. Others were reared in the laboratory in "normal" conditions for up to a year but all the cats and kittens were subjected to brain surgery and killed at the end of the experiment. The experiments, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience in 2012, were at least partially paid for by the taxpayer as they were supported by a Medical Research Council grant but the paper makes no reference to the treatment of human conditions and has no direct application to the study of human eye diseases.
About 150 cats were used in research in the UK in 2011 (the last year for which we have figures) but the number of experiments they were subjected to shows that many were used in more than one test. Official figures for 2011 show that over 25,000 tests on animals involved "interference with the special senses" and over 20,000 involved "interference with the brain". The majority of animals were rats and mice although monkeys, ferrets and others were used. Neither the research paper published by Cardiff or official figures can possibly convey the confusion, fear and suffering of animals deprived of their normal vision.
Cardiff University carried out over 50,000 experiments on animals in 2011. Please contact the university's vice-chancellor to demand that they commit immediately to conduct no experiments on cats or which involve blinding animals or interfering with animals' brains, and that they utilise humane methods to replace all animal experiments.
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