The University of Calgary is taking extra steps to protect animals during their medical research experiements.
Jeff Dunn from the U of C’s Cumming School of Medicine says a small MRI is used on rats and mice as part of researching possible treatments for cancer, strokes, multiple sclerosis and the immune system.
He says the number of animals being used has been reduced substantially.
“It’s huge. If you translate that to a human, imagine having to do treatments where you kill a human every time and take a piece of brain. Whereas we can literally give them an MRI, just like a human would have, and we can use the same MRI methods that would be used in a standard clinical scan.”
Dunn says the MRI has been in use since 2004 and the lab is also equipped with a blood gas analyzer so blood samples can be taken from the animals similar to a human patient.
Any research facility receiving government funding is subject to rules set out by the Canadian Council on Animal Care which ensures animal-based science in Canada takes place only when necessary.
Jeremy Beckham from PETA says although it’s better to kill fewer animals there’s still no basis to think rats and mice that are being sacrificed feel any less pain than a dog or cat.