University of Minnesota makes most ridiculous animal research list

Categories: Animals, U of M
hamster.jpg
A U of M Ph.D. student used taxpayer funds to research the link between hamsters' diets and sex drive.
A University of Minnesota study investigating how dieting affects the sex drive of hamsters has been singled out by In Defense of Animals as one of the most ridiculous animal experiments of 2011.

IDA criticizes the experiment on two fronts -- one, as a waste of taxpayer funds, since the research was paid for by three publicly funded National Institutes of Health grants; and second, as a waste of time, since what's the use of understanding how diet affects a hamster's sex drive in the first place?

Said IDA Research Director Eric Kleiman: "With unemployment sky-high and our economy still suffering from the Great Recession, the [NIH] still spends billions of your tax dollars every year to fund animal experiments. Our own research indicates that this is little more than 'white-coated welfare' for experimenters living off a grant gravy train funded by hard-hit American taxpayers."

More detail about the U of M's controversial study comes from the IDH's Real Ridiculous Research list:
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What would Goldy the Gopher think about the U of M's animal research?
Scientists at Lehigh University and the University of Minnesota found that putting hamsters on a diet had no significant impact on their abilities to perform or enjoy sexual intercourse, although they appeared less motivated to initiate it. Female hamsters who had been fed 75 percent of what they would normally eat for 8-11 days tended to spend more time with food and less time with male hamsters when given a choice between them. They also hoarded more food -- big surprise.

This study was supported by three NIH grants: two from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and one from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The NIH has an annual budget of $32 billion. Its mission is "to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability," but the experiments on the Real Ridiculous Research list suggest some of the studies it funds stray far from that goal.

Here's how the IDH summarizes some of the other studies that crack this year's top ten list: "Alligators' sounds and anatomy differ from humans'," "Lemon-fresh scent can induce erections in monkeys," and "Rats find Miles Davis is better with cocaine." The most ridiculous experiment of 2011? Tulane University's hard-hitting study that concluded "Labs are stressful places for monkeys." No shit, Sherlock.


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7 comments
UofM Graduate Student
UofM Graduate Student

I don't believe this article gives any rationale as to why the researchers were funded on this study. This may not have been the intention of the author, but I hope to see less biased posts in city pages in the future. I would prefer to see a local media that supports the research at the local university, or at least seeks to understand the why of what goes on.  An author can have an opinion, but still give both sides of an issue voice.  Scientific study is essential to gaining knowledge about the world, ourselves, and to develop new therapies to improve to human condition. Articles like this, which don't give voice to the science side of the issue, I believe hurt the public opinion of science, and ultimately harm us all. 

eatfood
eatfood

I would agree with some of the other posters.  You cannot judge a research experiment until you look at the details.  McCain used the same type of arguments in 2008 complaining about tax payer dollars going into bear research.  It's taken totally out of context.  Liberals do the same thing.  Though I can't be certain, I will take a stab and say these sound like experiments related to drug and advertising interests.  Though maybe I should do a little research before I speak!

amiller92
amiller92

Unemployment is sky high and we're still suffering from the Great Recession, so let's fire some lab techs and researchers?

This group is anti-animal research.  Why help them cover that up with sloppy rhetoric?

PutSomeRanchOnIt
PutSomeRanchOnIt

Sarah Palin on the 2008 campaign trail: "You've heard about some of these pet projects, they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not."

It's called a model organism, dummies. Maybe studying sex drives of dieting hamsters could have some relevance to dieting humans. And it's cheaper, easier and more reliable to study hamsters than actual fucking people.

Common Sense
Common Sense

Wow, way to rephrase the goals of scientific experiments  to make them sound dumb so you can spew idiotic shit about tax dollars being wasted. Are you a scientist Aaron Rupar? Do you not think researching the effects of certain stimuli on other animals could lead to new insight on the human mind and body? Do you not think that an animal rights group is going to publish biased opinions? Do some real journalism.

vitajex
vitajex

I used to do a lot of research on test animals but I found I got very poor results.

Most absolutely refused to say whether they preferred Coke or Pepsi.

After months of fruitless testing, I serendipitously discovered that my problem was stemming from the fact that most animals are die-hard Faygo fans.Go figure!

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