The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is hyping a report — its unclear if its simply a literature review or a bonafide metanalysis, though the former seems more likely — claiming that day-to-day activities in laboratories expose laboratory animals to undue stress and cruelty, rendering even non-invasive experiments cruel.
In a press release, PCRM summarized the findings of ethologist and PCRM member Jonathan Balcombe,
For example, a mouse who is picked up and briefly held experiences several physiological reactions. As stress-response hormones flood the bloodstream, the mouse exhibits a racing pulse and a spike in blood pressure. These symptoms can persist for up to an hour after each event. Immune response is also affected. In rats and mice, the growth of tumors is strongly influenced by how much the animals are handled.
The paper was published in the Autumn issue of Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science.According to Balcombe, this means all animal experiments are inherently cruel,
In essence, there is no such thing as a humane animal experiment. Fear or panic ensues when the animal is touched or stuck with a needle.
Animal Experiments More Stressful than Previously Recognized. Press Release, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, November 18, 2004.