Torturous Animal Experiments Continue in Secrecy at Rutgers University
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Vegan Vine
March 2020

Vivisection is the restriction of individuals to confined environments and the routine infliction of pain, injury, deprivation, and death for experimentation. Vivisection commonly involves torture under the guise of "science," yet it is inherently unscientific.... Like the sadistic activities enshrouded behind slaughterhouse walls, unethical and unjust laboratory operations are purposely concealed from the public.

bloodied Rutgers

"As a graduate student, I ordered ten rats, like so many test tubes, for experimental use because they were 'laboratory rats' and I was a 'researcher'," confessed Joan Dunayer in the introduction of her book, Animal Equality: Language and Liberation.

"Those labels permitted self-disguise. I didn't see myself as an abuser—not yet. Then I observed vivisection for the first time. At the University of Pennsylvania every veteran vivisector in the psychology department treated rats with callous indifference. I heard rats scream as their ears were hole-punched for identification. I saw them flung by the tail into metal boxes that fit them like coffins. There they stayed 23 hours a day, unable to look out. So that they would work for food, some rats were kept half starved. Others received electric shocks. Still others were subjected to painful injury such as stomach puncture. Termed 'procedures' and 'methods,' all forms of torture escaped moral judgment."

After reading Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, Dunayer finally realized that she had "failed to consider most nonhuman animals, the vast majority of the world's living beings. My actions," she wrote, "had displayed as arrogant, self-serving, and self-deceiving a mindset as sexism or racism. The concept of nonhuman rights completed my shift in worldview. No conscious being should be treated like an exploitable thing."

The animal activist group Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) recently filed a federal complaint against Rutgers University after three nonhuman animals were discovered to have endured horrific deaths in Rutgers University laboratories: a rabbit was boiled alive during cage sterilization, a goat died after becoming stuck in a feeder, and a pig died when her bowel was accidentally perforated during an experiment.

These deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. While the rabbit, goat, and pig fatalities were considered "accidents" and negligent violations of federal regulations, their deaths were not illegal because nonhuman animals are still considered property under American law. The University's use of these and other animals in unnecessary, wasteful, and costly experiments directly result in the untimely and obscure deaths of thousands of living beings every year. When I speak to Rutgers students and alumni, they are shocked to learn that Rutgers conducts animal experiments. The business of torturing other animals is not something Rutgers advertises, but it should outrage every student, alumni, and taxpayer who supports the University.

Vivisection is the restriction of individuals to confined environments and the routine infliction of pain, injury, deprivation, and death for experimentation. Vivisection commonly involves torture under the guise of "science," yet it is inherently unscientific. Many LGUs (Land-Grant Universities) devise all kinds of schemes—including creating new diseases—to acquire "research" monies to torment nonhuman animals and fund archaic experiments. Research is big business, so breeders, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and others who profit generously from vivisection will do anything to keep the money flowing in.

Laboratories are living hells. Some nonhuman animals are born there and never leave. Many spend their entire lives surrounded by concrete and steel, subjected to nonstop physical and emotional pain. Reactions to trauma include persistent gagging from repeatedly having tubes stuck down their throats; chewed off fingernails from anxiety; rocking, and banging their heads on cell walls. In addition, hypervigilance, depression, and self-abuse—biting themselves—have also been exhibited in nonhuman animals manipulated in laboratories. These symptoms of distress have also been observed in human animals who have undergone physical and sexual abuse, war, and other traumatic experiences because suffering is universal, no matter who is experiencing it.

Before the Trump Administration removed the website, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) kept an online database called the Animal Care Information System, which provided an annual list of the types and numbers of nonhuman animals experimented on by universities. When I last accessed the online database four years ago, I found that at least 6 nonhuman primates, 12 guinea pigs, and 14 rabbits were exploited for research at Rutgers in 2014. In 2010, 9 nonhuman primates, 12 cats, 3 pigs, 114 guinea pigs, 86 rabbits, and 445 "other" sentient beings (deer, gerbils, voles, and mice) were left to languish in laboratory cages, experimented on, and/or subjected to pain, and killed at Rutgers. The database had included countless numbers of nonhuman animals used and discarded at Rutgers going as far back as 1999.

In response to the federal complaint, the University insists that "the highest standards of science, safety, service, and humane care for the animals in our care are met." Despite what Rutgers spin doctors claim, nonhumans confined to laboratories and subjected to experimentation are not—by their very use, oppression, and enslavement—treated humanely.

Like the sadistic activities enshrouded behind slaughterhouse walls, unethical and unjust laboratory operations are purposely concealed from the public. And, similarly to the younger Joan Dunayer, students and workers who participate in vivisection are often in denial themselves, rejecting their victims' very capacity to suffer. Vivisectors employ speciesist language to mitigate their killing for professional and financial gain and exhibit moral schizophrenia when they insist they "love animals" while justifying their participation in animal abuse and exploitation.

"Whatever their intellectual capacity, humans are spared vivisection because we consider it morally repugnant to inflict suffering or death on any innocent human," wrote Dunayer. "Nonhumans deserve equal justice. . . . They need—now—to be spared deprivation, pain, and death. They need—right now—to be freed. Evil is no less evil when its victims are nonhuman."

As a former alumna, I have since renounced Rutgers for their flagrant cruelty and disregard for nonhuman life throughout their corporate-laden "animal science" programs. I have grown weary with Rutgers' cozy and symbiotic relationships with "research" facilities, the pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies like the USDA and the National Institutes of Health. The fact that student tuition, alumni donations, and taxpayer money is funneled into funding outright torture of other animals should disgust everyone, not just those affiliated with Rutgers.

I implore the Daily Targum and other organizations to do a thorough undercover investigation into these injustices. Regardless of financial constraints, journalistic institutions like the Daily Targum have an obligation to expose wrongdoing and inform its student body and alumni of what their money is aiding and promoting. I hope students and alumni will join me in withdrawing their financial support of Rutgers University and demanding an end to the sanctioned abuse and exploitation of nonhuman animals everywhere.


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