Shocked, Soaked and Gassed: Stop Cruel PTSD Experiments at Washington State University


This is not the way to help PTSD patients. At Washington State University, scientists are putting animals through hell, claiming to study PTSD.

CAARE has revealed that 3-month old rats are “traumatized” through a series of cruel procedures that last days. To start, they are immobilized in plastic devices for hours, then placed in chambers where they receive repeated electrical shocks. After that they are forced to swim in cold water for 20 minutes before being bombarded by alcohol fumes until they lose consciousness.

The point of all this? The study claims to show how sleep may be able to help victims of PTSD. Helping PTSD patients is vital, but as CAARE’s research has shown, appalling experiments on animals like these at WSU won’t accomplish that.

CAARE’s report, From Trauma to Treatment, demonstrates extensively how animal experiments fail to help people suffering from PTSD while presenting human-relevant alternatives for researching and treating PTSD. Instead, these abominable animal experiments siphon money away from treatments that are known to be highly effective, but right now aren’t reaching patients.

Treatments like evidence-based cognitive therapies, which have been shown to have a better than 77% success rate, go underfunded, while experiments on animals continue, this one with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

This rat formerly used in experiments has an electrode implanted in his head, much like the rats in the described study. Image credit Niv Singer, CC BY-SA 2.0.

As to the aforementioned cruel study on rats, the procedures described above are only part of what they go through. They also endured two brain surgeries to implant electrodes in their heads, with wires threaded through their neck muscles, and were tethered to a recording system for 7 days. That was done so researchers could subject them to a procedure known as optogenetics, in which brain cells are injected with proteins that react to light to control how they respond.

Horrific, “high-tech” animal experiments like this cost millions of dollars. In 2011, the DoD spent $82 million on “basic research” for PTSD, which typically means animal experiments. Just imagine if that money had been spent to bring effective therapies to hurting patients.

Please join with CAARE in speaking out by sending a polite letter to authorities to cancel these experiments in favor of funding effective treatments for people. Thank you for speaking out for animals in labs!

Featured image: a promotional photo for the Animal Lab at Converse College. Image credit Converse College, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to highlight and promote research without animals. CAARE’s mission is to reduce animal suffering by disseminating information about the power and progress of research without animals. Click to see author's profile.

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