PCRM Brings Lawsuit against Ohio State’s “Cruelty 101”
PCRM has stepped up its campaign against one of the cruelest laboratory courses ever devised—the Spinal Cord Injury Techniques course at Ohio State University, sometimes called “Cruelty 101.” The course requires students to expose the spinal cords of mice and rats and then drop heavy weights on them in a futile attempt to imitate human spinal cord injuries. Some animals have been in so much pain afterwards that they’ve tried to chew through their own muscles. The students then take these “skills” home to their own labs to use on other animals.
Since learning of the course last year from Protect Our Earth’s Treasures (POET), a Columbus animal protection group, PCRM’s Kristie Stoick, M.P.H., has been campaigning for an end to it. This summer, PCRM filed a lawsuit against OSU in Ohio State Supreme Court to obtain videos of the class procedures. At a PCRM press conference on May 23, Carrie Walters, M.D., a neurosurgeon specializing in acute head injury and spinal cord care, elaborated on the failure of animal experiments to advance human spinal cord research. “Decades of attempts to model spinal cord injury using a reproducible animal model have left us disappointed time and again,” she said.
Richard Sorgen, M.D., a bioethicist and radiologist, spoke of the ethical imperative to replace old, outmoded research practices. Stoick described some of the humane alternatives, such as clinical or post-mortem human studies, neural cell imaging, and in vitro cell biology.
As a result, the university is facing increased public scrutiny. All the local TV stations and the Columbus Dispatch have covered the controversy, and neurologists from around the country are getting involved with the campaign. The Lantern, OSU’s paper, even editorialized against the school for concealing footage of the class.