A plastic box and internal parasites: rodents’ lives at NeuroSpin

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While the worst horrors listed at NeuroSpin in the numerous inspection reports obtained by One Voice concern primates, let’s not forget the presence of tens, or even hundreds, of rodents subjected to experiments and to a life of misery in minuscule cages. Particularly as the laboratory has failed to follow regulations several times for them as well. In our constant fight against animal testing, we will not skip over the fate of these small, often forgotten animals.

We cannot tell you about ‘Rayan’, ‘Iris’, or ‘Charlie’ since these animals were never given a name. Their lives are all the more tragic. In laboratories, mice and rats must settle for a number or a mark which serves to better distinguish one from the other: a tattoo on their toes, a notch on one ear, or even a toe cut off. These mutilations are only there to link them to the experiments to which they are assigned.

A life in a box at NeuroSpin

In 2015 and 2016, veterinary services stated that, in violation of regulations, rats were being kept in individual boxes for more than a year, without even a toy or any kind of activity. 

After several years of this endless boredom, the cages were brought up to standard and some animals were even “lucky” enough to have a space measuring “1500cm²”… meaning 30 centimetres wide and 50 centimetres long. Which unfortunately does follow regulations…

On the other hand, mice are isolated without authorisation and many transgenic rodents are forced to reproduce in their miserable habitat, considered simply as “materials”. In the jargon, they are “surplus” animals, simply destined to be killed. Incidentally, this is what the laboratory did to ‘resolve’ the problem and get its authorisation renewed in 2020, by compliantly promising the Prefecture to do better in future.

Illustrative image

Out-of-date anaesthetics and staphylococcus aureus

out-of-date and the anaesthetics are mainly past their use-by date. In short, not only are the results of the studies led by the establishment false, but the rodents also risk feeling pain during surgery or being subject to infections!

In addition to this, and for several years, the laboratory noted the presence of internal parasites in the mice, which does not particularly seem to bother them. When staphylococcus aureus was noticed in 2021, the veterinarian did not worry about any other measures since the animals did not seem unwell and it would “interfere with the research”. Even so, the professional recommended disinfecting materials! The basics…

For the animals

Clearly, the animals’ health should not be left to the NeuroSpin staff. Beyond the issue of animal testing as a whole, this laboratory in particular does not even respect the basic regulations for the safety of the animals, or the methodological rigour that is supposed to characterise scientific research, as long as they get to generate publishable data.

Our legal action, which reveals all of the laboratory’s failures, is a significant step in the long and hard fight that we have been leading since One Voice was created, to one day reach the end of animal testing.